by Al Sacco

Global Wi-Fi Hotspot Use on the Rise, Driven By Business

Sep 21, 20073 mins
MobileSmall and Medium BusinessWi-Fi

Worldwide use of Wi-Fi technology is increasingly rapidly and that's largely due to how often businesspeople connect in airports and hotels, according to a recent report.

CIOs and other mobile businesspeople are driving the use of Wi-Fi hotspots across the world to new highs, and the airports and hotels they pass through on their travels are the places they connect most often, according to a recent report.

With more and more Wi-Fi-enabled devices hitting the market each month, including a “dual-mode” cellular/Wi-Fi BlackBerry and Nokia mobile phones, mobile workers and others will continue to expand their usage of the wireless technology.

image of laptop and a plane

The Wi-Fi Hotspot Index, compiled by iPass, a provider of enterprise mobility solutions, is based on data collected during the first half of 2007 from more than 1,000,000 Wi-Fi users employed by the company’s 3,500 customer organizations. iPass collected data on Wi-Fi use at some 80,000 hotspots in 78 countries, tracking time spent connected; location of connection; and the top venues in which Wi-Fi connections are made, as well as the specific airports that see the most Wi-Fi use.

Overall, Wi-Fi hotspot usage by business users between January and June of 2007 rose 68 percent over the last six months of 2006, and hotspot use during the first half of 2007 skyrocketed 141 percent in comparison to the first half 2006, according to iPass.

The countries that saw the largest boosts in hotspot use include Australia, which saw an increase of more than 780 percent since June 2006, and Germany, where hotspot use increased by 379 percent during the period.

“The results indicate that business demand for Wi-Fi hotspots has grown from a novelty to a mainstream need,” said Joel Wachtler, iPass VP of marketing and strategy, in a press release. “We are also seeing that use of hotspots is a global phenomenon, with the standard for growth being set in European and Asian countries.”

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The regions of the world in which Wi-Fi hotspots are used most frequently are North America (56 percent of the total worldwide usage), Europe (36 percent), and the Asia-Pacific (six percent), according to the report.

Not surprisingly, the United States is leading in terms of hotspot use, again making up 56 percent of the worldwide total, followed by the United Kingdom (13 percent), Germany (7 percent), Switzerland (4 percent) and the Netherlands (3 percent).

Regardless of the fact that North America and the United States are the leading region and country, London is the city with the highest level of hotspot use by businesspersons, with four times as many Wi-Fi “sessions,” or times people connect to networks, than New York and Chicago, the number two and three cities, respectively.

The average time business users spent connected to Wi-Fi networks also increased significantly. Average daily Wi-Fi usage jumped 25 percent to 89 minutes in the first half of 2007, compared to 70 minutes in the second half of 2006.

iPass plans to continue tracking its customers’ Wi-Fi and update its Hotspot Index every six months.

What follows is a list of the top 10 airports where business users connect to Wi-Fi most frequently, as well as a list of the five leading hotels, according to iPass.

Top 10 Airports Based on Wi-Fi Use by Businesspeople

  1. O’Hare (Chicago)

  2. Dallas-Fort Worth

  3. Hartsfield (Atlanta)

  4. San Francisco

  5. Heathrow (London)

  6. Minneapolis St. Paul

  7. Denver

  8. Schiphol (Amsterdam)

  9. Newark

  10. Detroit Metro

Top 5 Hotels Based on Wi-Fi Use by Businesspeople

  1. World Center Marriott, Orlando, Fl.

  2. The Airport Sun Intercontinental, Johannesburg, South Africa

  3. Holiday Inn Eindhoven, Netherlands

  4. San Francisco Marriott, San Francisco, Calif.

  5. Chang Gung Hotel, Taiyuan, Taiwan