Wireless Internet Access Activity
by: Jerry Liao

Wireless technologies represent a rapidly emerging area of growth and importance for providing ubiquitous access to the network for everyone. Wireless is being adopted for many new applications: to connect computers, to allow remote monitoring and data acquisition, to provide access control and security, and to provide a solution for environments where wires may not be the best solution. Almost all new devices are supporting wireless technology – connectivity in other words is the name of the game.

Just recently, Pew Internet & American Life Project released a report indicating that some 34% of U.S. Internet users have logged onto the internet using a wireless connection either around the house, at their workplace, or some place else. In other words, one-third of internet users, either with a laptop computer, a handheld personal digital assistant (PDA), or cell phone, have surfed the internet or checked email using means such as WiFi broadband or cell phone networks.

Users of wireless access show deeper engagement with cyberspace – at least when focusing on two basic online activities, email and news. Among the 34% of internet users who have gone online wirelessly:

– 72% of wireless users check email on the typical day, compared to 63% of home broadband users and 54% of all internet users.
– 46% get news online on the typical day, compared to 38% of home broadband users and 31% of all internet users.

The differences between wireless and home broadband users are statistically significant and notable because most wireless users (80%) have broadband connections at home. The findings suggest that the “relentless connectivity” afforded by wireless access
represents a different quality in online behavior.1 It is possible – even likely – that lifestyle circumstances such as one’s job may require lots of email connectivity and associated wireless access. But the boundaries between checking email on a portable
device for work or personal purposes can be very blurry; having such work-driven access may foster greater frequency of personal emailing or other kinds of online activities.

Wireless Devices:
Laptop computers: Four in ten (39%) internet users have laptop computers and of these laptop users, 80% say their laptops can connect to the internet on a wireless network. Most of the time, those with wireless enabled laptops connect to a wireless network at home, although most also have logged on from someplace other than work or home. Specifically, among laptop users whose machines are capable of connecting to the internet wirelessly:

– 88% of laptop users have at one time logged on using a home wireless network.
– 57% have used a wireless network someplace other than home or work to connect to the internet.
– 36% have logged using a wireless network at work.

The growth in wireless networks at home has undoubtedly fuelled the use of laptops to connect wirelessly around the house. One in five (19%) of internet users have wireless networks at home, which is twice the number recorded when the Pew Internet
Project asked this question in January 2005, when 10% of internet users had home wireless networks.

More often than not, those with laptops and home wireless networks take advantage of in-house mobility; three-quarters of these users say they move their laptop around to different parts of the house.

Cell phones: One quarter (25%) of internet users say they have a cell phone that connects to the internet with a wireless connection. Among internet users with this capability on their cell phone, half (54%) have used it to get on the internet either at home, work, or someplace other than home or work. Among those with cell phones that can connect to the internet:

– 47% have done this some place other than home or work.
– 28% have done this at work.
– 27% have done this while at home.

Personal digital assistants (PDAs): One in eight (13%) internet users have a PDA that can connect to the internet using a wireless network. Of these, most (82%) have used it to connect at home, work, or someplace other than home or work. Specifically:

– 56% of those with a web-enabled PDA have used it to access the internet or email away from home or work.
– 49% have done this with their PDA at home.
– 38% have used their PDA to connect to the web or email at work.

This report is based on the findings of a daily tracking survey on Americans’ use of the Internet. The results in this report are based on data from telephone interviews conducted by Princeton Survey Research Associates International between November 30 to December 30, 2006, among a sample of 2,373 adults, 18 and older. The Pew Internet & American Life Project is a non-partisan, non-profit initiative of the Pew Research Center that does research on the social impact of the internet. It is funded by the Pew Charitable Trusts. The Projects takes no position on policy issues.

The report my represent the demographics and user habits in the U.S., but is in a way indicative of the general wireless user population which could guide our developers to determine which wireless application is best suited for their market.



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