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Survey Says Consumers Still Don't Understand Wi-Fi Potential

While wireless LANs in homes are widespread, many consumers still don't understand the potential use of their networks with consumer electronics devices, according to a survey released Wednesday by market research firm In-Stat.
While wireless LANs in homes are widespread, many consumers still don't understand the potential use of their networks with consumer electronics devices, according to a survey released Wednesday by market research firm In-Stat.

Instead, most of the 640 respondents tend to use their Wi-Fi networks primarily for data applications such as connecting PCs and printers.

"Consumer electronics vendors have a challenge to educate consumers about Wi-Fi and to overcome the perception that Wi-Fi is simply a data networking technology," In-Stat analyst Norm Bogen said in a statement. "In-Stat believes the benefits to consumers of Wi-Fi connectivity in consumer electronics devices are significant enough to build a major market segment over the next five years."

The study focused on users who the research firm referred to as "tech savvy." The study also found that consumers with more PCs installed in their home were more likely to understand how Wi-Fi could be used in consumer devices.

Wireless capabilities are increasingly available to, for instance, distribute music stored on PCs or MP3 players throughout the house to stereos or to play video stored on PCs on televisions. In addition, vendors such as Kodak are about to release Wi-Fi versions of cameras that can automatically upload photos to online printing services.