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WiGLE WiFi for Android phone performance comparison

Posted: Thu Dec 07, 2017 4:35 pm
by Phlik
I was interested in comparing the difference in performance with the Android WiGLE Wi-Fi application with the same settings, same drive and same time on different phones. I did several different runs in car, train and waling in different density Wi-Fi environments to see how they performed in each.

This should allow people to baseline the performance of other phones provided they have one of the three phones used here.

The 3 phones used were a Samsung S7, Cubot C8 (low cost with only 2GHz Wi-Fi) and LG G3.

In general, the number of detected access points is dependent on, acces points being present oviously, and the phone’s performance in:
  • 1. Sensitivity – ability to detect weak signals;
  • 2. Frequency range – not all phones cover all of the channels;
  • 3. Co-channel handling – Some phones are better at resolving signals in the presence of interferers / other signals on the same or adjacent channels;
  • 4. Scan speed – this seems to be crucial especially when moving at speed. How quickly can the device go through all the channels?
Related is the ability of the device to pick-up a GPS signal to correctly tag the correct location.

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Clearly the most expensive and most powerful phone out performed the others in all environments.

Although the C8 and L3 got less in all scenarios they did detect networks that the S7 did not, albeit this was low in the 10’s. I also conclude it is not simply the number of phones you have running in parallel but the performance of your best phone that is key.

How do your devices compare?

Re: WiGLE WiFi for Android phone performance comparison

Posted: Fri Dec 08, 2017 10:08 pm
by arkasha
this is really interesting.

if I had all the time and phones in the world, I'd love to do comparisons across android releases as well as devices, since there are significant differences in background service and position handling that depend on OS version.

Thanks for a really cool post!

Re: WiGLE WiFi for Android phone performance comparison

Posted: Tue Dec 12, 2017 9:55 am
by Phlik
Just for reference, those were running on WiGLE v2.25 and the S7/C8 on Android 7.0 and LG G3 on 6.0.

Re: WiGLE WiFi for Android phone performance comparison

Posted: Sat Aug 17, 2019 3:29 pm
by d2k2
another comparison, the Samsung S7 vs the Samsung S4 vs a RPI:

RPI: W: 4195 B: 1187 C: 0
S7: W: 2050 B: 537 C: 54
S4: W: 2146 B: 227 C: 5

W= Wifi, B = Bluetooth, C = Celltower

The S4 is running Lineage OS 14, the S7 Android 8.0, both with the WiGLE App 2.46

I assume the S7 is a little bit lower in Wifi here as the area had mostly 2,4Ghz where it "wasted" time scanning in the 5Ghz band.

Re: WiGLE WiFi for Android phone performance comparison

Posted: Sat Aug 17, 2019 5:55 pm
by arkasha
awesome; which kismet version is that?

Re: WiGLE WiFi for Android phone performance comparison

Posted: Sat Aug 17, 2019 10:19 pm
by d2k2
the rpi is running 2019-08-R1 kismet, exact setup: War-Pi
Its a bit a unfair device against smartphones in terms of performance, but also way more complicated to use.

Re: WiGLE WiFi for Android phone performance comparison

Posted: Wed May 12, 2021 12:31 am
by kurz
It also matters whether your device is doing a passive scan or an active scan.

I also had vintage Android devices that were tiny, underpowered and slow, but in certain situations they could pick up way more networks than the active scanners. It could also receive access points from a magnificent distance after plotting them on a map, sometimes even 5km away. If you have a device that does monitor (promiscuous) mode, that also counts as passive in this sense (or active + passive if it can manage injection as well).

For active scanners (I think most everything today), it's also not just the RX that matters, but the TX as well - if the AP can't hear your probe request clearly enough (or the client sent it out when the channel was not idle enough), it can't send a response.