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This post explains very well the logic behind ip assignation for mobile devices but as far as I understand 1 IP can be assigned to various smartphones by the ISP using NAT.

I would like to know if such assignation is done by location, for example when a festival occurs with thousands of people connecting to internet using one cellular tower, are the mobiles with similar ip located in the festival or distributed over the whole country ?

IPs are most likely to be similar when connected to 1 cellular antenna with high trafic or will be distributed over the whole ISP network ?

  • The point of this question was to help identify mobile phones uniquely crossing various data available in a browser... In the end I decided to change of strategy and instead open access to any browser but limit interactions using chrome and safari only. That way I can verify using clientjs that interacting users are unique. Keep in mind that my case is a bit special, I am creating a micro web service for mobile users only and with more than 80% of the world market using Safari or Chrome it seems to be a good shortcut to simply alert mobile users not using their default browsers to do so. – Krem Jan 3 '17 at 13:06
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NAT hides the whatever network topology exists between the client device and the NAT gateway meaning that you probably can't derive any meaningful information from just the public IP-address.

In general assigning geographical locations to ip-addresses is about as accurate as saying that people on Heathrow international airport will have British passports. It can be useful first level approximation or wildly incorrect.

If you want reasonable guarantees that mobile users are indeed at your festival venue or a specific location:

  • Offer quality free WiFi (many phones and users default to using open WiFi rather than mobile data) and you'll know with a high degree of certainty that anyone on that netwerk will be within a specific area (or maybe next door at the worst...).
  • Use HTML 5 Geolocation and use the actual GPS location phones report in your (mobile) site or App. (Yes developers can change the location their phones report or security settings will block access to location, but for the general public that should be pretty reliable.)
  • Thanks but I am trying to identify each mobile uniquely combining various techniques such as cookies, browser fingerprinting and ip. I know each technique is limited but probabilities on getting similar ips on a specific cell tower might help to define a logic that works better. For exemple – Krem Jan 2 '17 at 12:29
  • For ex If you check location of new user and compare it to all other users within 50 meters with close timestamp, same browser, same ip and same smartphone model, etc. It might be possible to detect double checked'ins. 1000 users on cellular tower, it is more likely to have 900 sharing same ip or 900 with different ips ? – Krem Jan 2 '17 at 12:47

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