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Study: Wi-Fi beats out home phone, iPod

Survey of American adults indicates that majority would ditch their MP3 players over their wireless networks, if pressed.

Despite the ubiquity of the iPod and its ongoing status as the gadget du jour, a new study hints that American adults are more attached to wireless access at home than they are to iPods and landlines.

Eighty percent of respondents to a survey conducted by Kelton Research for the Wi-Fi Alliance said they would part with their iPods over their wireless networks, if they had to.

About the same amount of respondents would choose their wireless networks over their home telephone lines, perhaps attesting to the growing use of voice over Internet Protocol, or VoIP, as an often-cheaper alternative to traditional landlines.

The survey focused on adults 18 to 64 who have experience with wireless networks.

The study also found that home Wi-Fi networks are shaping the way Americans go about their jobs. Fifty-five percent of survey respondents said they work from home two to three days a week, but wireless connectivity now means that they don't need a designated "home office." Wi-Fi users, particularly those between the ages of 40 and 64, were likely to work in a living room, kitchen or even a local Starbucks.

Part of Wi-Fi's appeal is in its convenience, according to the study. The results found that setting up a home wireless network takes an average of an hour and 8 minutes.

But could the results of the survey be skewed, based on the fact that all 551 participants attested to having experience with Wi-Fi in either a household or home office environment? Yes and no, said Craig Mathias, principal analyst at research firm Farpoint Group, which specializes in wireless communications.

"The results are clearly skewed by the demographic," he said, adding that it doesn't indicate a real inaccuracy. "It's not unfair in any way. I've never met anybody who has installed Wi-Fi and was unhappy with it in the long run."

"I have seen problems from time to time," Mathias noted, "but the industry is working very hard to solve all those problems, and it's hard to imagine that Wi-Fi won't become ubiquitous."