Meraki, a known mesh network provider, released Tuesday its first Wireless Census for North America and the results, though dramatic, seem nothing of a surprise. Basically, there has been a huge increase in the number of wireless-capable devices, among which Apple's handheld devices had the biggest jump.
The Meraki Wireless Census surveyed 10,000 randomly selected Meraki access points deployed in North America for two 24-hour periods: June 2, 2008, and June 1, 2009. The study measured the number of distinct client devices that sent probe requests in each 24-hour period. The purpose of the survey was to identify macro-level traffic and end-user device trends.
In details, the number of mobile devices including laptops and handheld devices grew from some 149,000 in 2008 to more than 211,000 in 2009, a 41 percent increase.
Apple's devices played a huge role in this increase. The company's Internet-enabled devices now account for 32 percent of all devices, represented in the survey, in 2009, compared with only 14 percent in 2008. The survey also showed that the popularity of Apple laptops, iPhones and iPods increase an impressive 221 percent just in one year.
Other than Apple's products, there have been an increasing amount of Wi-Fi-enabled handheld devices from other well-known vendors. According to the Meraki's census, the number of Research In Motion (RIM) devices, best known for the BlackBerry smartphones, observed in North America grew by 419 percent from 2008 to 2009, while Nokia devices grew by 114 percent.
In 2008, RIM devices represented just two percent of all devices observed, but grew dramatically to 8 percent for 2009. In 2008 and 2009, Nokia represented one percent and two percent of all devices, respectively.
These shifts in types and numbers of wireless devices are to be expected. In the past few years, more and more highly Internet-capable smartphones have been introduced and more and more Web services are tailored for mobile users.
Personally, while I wish the survey was done in larger than 24-hour periods, the trends seem right and definitely represent the way I access the Internet. Apart from sitting at work writing on my desktop, when on the go, my almost exclusive way to access the Internet is via my iPhone.
How about you? How often do you access the Internet via your phone? Please share your thoughts in the comments section.