Wi-Fi More Popular than iPod?

Apple’s iPod gets far more buzz, but it’s “boring” wireless connectivity that many computer users find more

At least that’s one of the results of a survey conducted by Kelton
Research and sponsored by the Wi-Fi Alliance (WFA) trade association. About
eight of 10 surveyed (of the 551 total nationwide) said they would rather
give up their iPod than their wireless network. The survey participants were
18 to 64 years old and all had experience with wireless computer technology
in their home.

“The number’s actually higher than we expected. We were a bit surprised,”
Karen Hanley, senior marketing director for the Wi-Fi
told internetnews.com.

Another question in the survey asked how long it took users to set up
their wireless home network. The results weren’t great; the average length
of time was one hour and eight minutes. Still, the WFA framed the results in
the best light under the heading: “One Hour for Freedom”.

“It does still take too long,” Hanley conceded. “I set mine up in twenty
minutes, but I know what I’m doing. We’re working to help knock the length
of setup time down.”

The survey also indicated that Wi-Fi is changing the nature of the home
office. Rather than the traditional fixed office space in the den,
respondents said mobile wireless computing lets them work in the kitchen,
living room or their local coffee shop.

A slim majority (55 percent) in the survey said they work from home at least two to three times a week and of those, 38 percent indicated they either work outside the house or some other room that’s not designed to be an office.

One area of concern is network security. Hanley said its research shows
far too many Wi-Fi networks are setup and left unsecured. The organization
has a task force working on a spec and certification to better automate the
process of making sure home networks are secure.

Pre-installed in most PC notebooks, Wi-Fi capability is expanding rapidly
to cell phones and other devices. The research firm In-Stat estimates over a
120 million Wi-Fi chip sets have been sold worldwide and it expects that
number to quadruple by 2009.

And while the comparison to the iPod is a bit forced (one is a consumer
product, the other an enabling technology) Apple’s  popular handheld music player may soon help Wi-Fi become
even more popular. There are a few music players with Wi-Fi connectivity
already and Microsoft  is rumored
to be planning a device with similar capability. Analysts say Apple will
likely add Wi-Fi to iPod at some point as well.

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