Wi-Fi users spend more time online

One in five now have Wi-Fi networks at home

Internet users with a home Wi-Fi network spend more time reading news and checking emails online compared to web surfers on a wired broadband connection, according to new research.

The Pew Internet & American Life Project surveyed 798 US internet users and found that 72 per cent of wireless internet users check their email at least once a day, compared to just 63 per cent of those on a wired connection. The same trend goes for reading news online.

"The convenience of wireless access gives people the chance to fire off a quick e-mail to someone while waiting in a doctor's office or check the news headlines on the way to work," said John Horrigan, associate research director at the Pew Internet Project.

So far, using a wireless network is still not the norm among internet users. The survey found that 34 per cent of internet users had used a Wi-Fi connection at some point, but less than one in five users (19 per cent) had a Wi-Fi network set up at home. However, that figure has doubled since January 2005 when 10 per cent were using wireless networks at home.

Wi-Fi users tend to be younger than the average internet user; male users aged between 18 and 49 are the most typical.

According to the survey, about 80 per cent of notebook computers had wireless capabilities and 88 per cent of notebook users said they had used a wireless network at home. About six in ten had connected somewhere outside their home or office.

One in four internet users said they have a web-enabled mobile phone, and 54 per cent of those had used it to get online.