What’s Going on in Cheney Reservoir?

As an update to the previous post about trace routing some websites, I found out that a good deal of my traffic was being routed through Cheney Reservoir, just outside Wichita Kansas. While I was intrigued by the notion that some forgettable suburb of Wichita was, in fact, the internet equivalent of London’s Heathrow Airport, the truth is appears to be much more mundane.

Upon closer inspection of the website I was using for geolocating the links on my traceroute, I found that it was sourcing its information from a website called ipinfo.io. When I checked the website manually, I found it was locating a number of different IP addresses in the same exact place, Cheney Reservoir, Kansas. Some IP addresses belonged to Google, while other belonged to AT&T and Verizon. When I started checking these IP’s on other IP addresses databases like dbip, I found that sometimes they didn’t give a location and instead just returned “unknown.”

Why would one database know this while another didn’t? Actually this wasn’t the case at all. They both didn’t know, but the ipinfo just returned a generic default location. With this information, it became obvious why this location was the default: its the geographic center of the USA. The locating feature of ipinfo’s algorithm appears to look for the most accurate location of an IP address based on its registered location, which is written out as a town, county or state. When the town or state are unavailable, it defaults to country, and where is the United States of America located? Cheney Reservoir.

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