July 22, 2009

Wireless Internet Use

Using laptops to get online wirelessly

Among the 47% of Americans with laptops, wireless access is by-and-large the norm. Some 80% of laptop users have connected to the internet using a wireless network such as WiFi and 37% have used a longer range wireless broadband connection such as an AirCard. Overall, 81% of laptop users have connected wirelessly using one of those means. This translates into 39% of all Americans having accessed the internet on a wireless network on a laptop.

Laptop owners frequently use a wireless connection to get online and mostly do this at home. Among laptop owners, 64% log on wirelessly at least once a day and nearly half (48%) do so several times a day. They also report that most of the time (69%) they log on wirelessly from home.

At the same time, “away from home” access comes into play as the main means of wireless access for about one third of laptop owners. Specifically:

  • 13% say that most of their wireless laptop surfing occurs from some combination of the workplace or someplace else.
  • 11% report that they “mostly” use their laptop wireless from a place other than home or work.
  • 7% say they log on wirelessly with a laptop mostly at work.

As to the demographic profile of laptop owners, not surprisingly they are more likely to be young and well educated. Against the average of 47% of all Americans having a laptop and 39% having used it to go online wirelessly:

  • 68% of college graduates have laptops and 58% have used a laptop to connect using a wireless network.
  • 61% of those between the ages of 18 and 29 have laptops and 55% have used it to connect to the internet on a wireless network.
  • 47% of whites have a laptop and 38% have used it to connect wirelessly to the internet.
  • 34% of African Americans have a laptop and 28% have used it to go online wirelessly.1
  1. See this report’s appendix for more detailed demographic information on those who use the internet wirelessly from their laptop computer.