Consumer needs and expectations for home Wi-Fi fundamentally altered post-pandemic, according to new Airties survey
Sep 3, 2021
- Consumers value home Wi-Fi more than ever and 80% would prefer in-home Wi-Fi gear be provided as a service by their broadband operator rather than purchased through retail
- 39% of respondents said they were reimbursed by their employer for new Wi-Fi gear they purchased and 32% had their broadband subscription subsidized by their employer
- 71% of consumers expect to continue working from home post-pandemic and a majority would consider upgrading to a faster tier of Internet service if bundled with whole-home Smart Wi-Fi
- More than 33 million homes are now managed by Airties Cloud globally with an average of 19.6 connected devices per home
ISTANBUL – With the rise in remote working and learning, 58% of respondents across the U.S., U.K. and Germany said they encountered more home Wi-Fi issues than before the COVID-19 pandemic, and a remarkable 55% said they had daily issues with their home Wi-Fi, according to a recent survey* commissioned by Airties, the most widely deployed supplier of managed Wi-Fi solutions to service providers globally. Consumers also strongly prefer their broadband operator take the lead in ensuring a quality Wi-Fi experience, with 80% saying they would rather their broadband subscription included home Wi-Fi networking gear instead of purchasing it themselves through retail.
The survey of 1,525 respondents across the U.S., U.K and Germany, who either had to work or learn from home over the past year, illustrates how the COVID-19 pandemic has permanently changed consumers’ expectations for home Wi-Fi. Unsurprisingly, 90% of people said they are using their home Wi-Fi more now than ever, with, at the top end of the scale, almost half of Americans (48%) using their Wi-Fi for an additional 7-10+ hours per day, compared to 21% of Germans and 36% of Brits. As people sought out quieter places to work or study, the survey found that 65% were using Wi-Fi in unusual places in their homes, such as garages, attics, and patios. This correlates with the 56% who said they have areas in their home where Wi-Fi does not work well, and demonstrates a significant market need for whole-home Wi-Fi solutions.
“During this unprecedented time, people have come to rely on and value their home Wi-Fi more than ever,” said Philippe Alcaras, CEO of Airties. “We have crossed an inflection point where home Wi-Fi is as vital as electricity for sustaining our way of life –keeping us productive, informed, entertained, and connected. Even as many countries begin opening more, reliance on home Wi-Fi has forever changed. Trends like the ‘enterprisation’ of the home, remote learning and telemedicine are here to stay, and with that comes significant opportunities and challenges for broadband operators around the globe.”
Implications for Broadband Operators
According to the survey, 85% of respondents said they value or rely upon their home Wi-Fi more now than before the pandemic, and an encouraging 75% overall indicated that their broadband operator responded well during the pandemic. Nonetheless, 63% said they called to complain about their Wi-Fi and 27% of those respondents said their broadband operator had to organize a technician visit to their home. Of those who did not call to complain, more than a quarter were “silent sufferers” who said they would have liked to call their broadband operator to help fix their Wi-Fi issues but did not because of the time and effort it would require. A disconcerting 49% of respondents said they considered switching broadband operators due to Wi-Fi issues during the pandemic.
Despite these troubling indicators, there were several positive findings for broadband operators. In addition to the 80% preference for broadband operators to include home Wi-Fi gear as part of their broadband service, 58% of consumers said they would consider upgrading to a faster tier of Internet service if their broadband operator offered a premium Wi-Fi system that guaranteed both faster and consistent Wi-Fi in every room of their home. Of those who would consider upgrading, 70% said they would be willing to pay at least $5/€5/£5 extra for faster and consistent Wi-Fi in every room of their home. Notably, 86% expect the fastest Internet package to come equipped with a whole-home Wi-Fi system that would guarantee coverage in every room.
Another key finding could inform new Smart Wi-Fi business models for broadband operators aimed at employers. 39% of respondents said they were reimbursed by their employer for new Wi-Fi gear they purchased during the pandemic, and 32% of respondents said their broadband subscription was subsidized by their employer. There is also a high level of interest for additional services, such as advanced security. Of those not already paying for it, 36% would be willing to pay extra for advanced security, and the remaining 64% expect it to be included as part of their broadband package.
All these details and more, including the geographical breakdown and additional indicators on device and app usage are available from Airties in this report.
New Airties Cloud Usage Statistics
In addition to the survey results, Airties also disclosed today that it now actively manages more than 33 million homes globally through the Airties Cloud platform. Airties Cloud orchestrates Wi-Fi across millions of homes, optimizing operator gateways and extenders in real time to ensure a better quality of experience for consumers. Airties Cloud provides insights on the millions of users and their connected devices. It also allows operators to address the evolving needs of consumers, such as cyber security, through a suite of digital services.
On a daily basis, Airties Cloud now supports more than 646 million actively connected devices, and cumulatively, in excess of 1.2 billion unique devices have been managed by Airties Cloud. Currently, there are an average of 19.6 connected devices per home. The mix of devices across homes is notable, with, on average for Wi-Fi connected devices; 16% are Wi-Fi 6 (11ax); 44% are Wi-Fi 5 (11ac); 39% are Wi-Fi 4 (11n); and 1% are older legacy devices (11g or earlier). This split shows how rapidly the new generation of Wi-Fi is penetrating the installed base while co-existing with legacy devices. This complexity requires a fully managed solution and deep expertise to ensure optimal performance for all devices and applications, such as Airties provides to operators today.
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