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Mobile Networks Break IPGEO And Rely On Location Services Instead.

I live in Austin, Texas. I use a HTC Amaze Phone running AndroidIce Cream-Sandwitch. I noticed that when I visited the websiteWhat’s MyIP from my mobile Phone my IPGeo based location was listed as Atlanta, GA. This was really strange to me since when I visited this website using my Own Home Computer which is connected to the net using TimeWarner BroadBand I was at least listed as Downtown Austin which is only 12 miles off from Actual location. I repeated this experience using my work PC as well and noticed my work PC is also reporting my IP Geo somewhat accurately. I repeated the experiment a month later and noticed that this time I was listed as Alvarado, Texas which was still more than 100 miles away from my Home Base. Since I run on the T-Mobile network I thought well maybe this is a T-Mobile specific issue. So I ran the same test once again in a random Bar with two Random selected guys. One of them was on the Verizon Wireless network and the other was on Sprint network. One of them told me that his IP Geo was listed as San Antonio, TX and the other told me his IP was listed as Houston, TX. As you can see one of them was off by 80 Miles and the other was wrong by 150 miles. Then I just happened to use my laptop with the same corporate owned Bar’s WIFI network to get on the internet. And guess what my IP was listed as somewhere in either Missouri or Ohio. But that does not really matter since they are so far away from Austin, TX my actual home-base.

WhatisMyip.com allows you to see your external IP Address. By External IP-Address I mean an IPV4 address that is not assigned by NAT run on your router to you. This is an IP Address that Internet knows you by, an IP Address that a webserver serializes your Http Data to you by. An IP Address that a Media Server sends you UDP Data that enables you to watch online video or voice.

Back to IP Geo. Don’t be mistaken. The Mobile network and corporate owned establishments don’t actually route your data via an inefficient route. It is just that the owner of each CellTower or Wifi Network is listed as the Corporate Owner which might be located anywhere.

The funny thing is a while ago I tried to visit T-Mobile to see my Bill and what do you know it asks for my location through this standard.

T-Mobile website asking for User's location.

The Mobile Networks are figuring out that why bother reflect our routes in way serve IPGeo. They believe in the near future all services including Desktop Computers, Tablets and Phones shall have GPS device that can actually report a much more accurate location than IPGeo ever could. That’s because IPGeo is essentially just a database of what IP range has historically belonged to a certain ISP in some corner of the world. They could even hedge their bet because very dumb phones have an ability to ascertain a better location hint through Cell Triangulation than IPGeo could possibly offer.

If you notice Google Android and other Mobile operating Systems by default like to enable all location services including reporting your location when you using the Web Browser.

We are lucky in one aspect because much of the web traffic such as routing your website’s assets through CDNS are actually not based on IPGeo but something DNS routing protocols. But we are also rather out of luck because we need to build smart websites that can operate based on IPGeo or Location Services and decide which is one is the wiser location to piggy back on.

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