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Study: 40% of Wireless Home Networks Experience Problems

Parks Associates study shows 40% of U.S. broadband households have problems with wireless routers and 87% have slow connections or dead zones in their home, with nearly two-thirds of those homeowners reporting they are unable to resolve the problems.


Study: 40% of Wireless Home Networks Experience Problems
A new study by Parks Associates reveals widespread dissatisfaction with wireless home networks among consumers.
Jason Knott · May 14, 2015

There is still a strong case for integrators to make with their clients for installing hardwired home networks. According to new Parks Associates research of 1,000 U.S broadband households with a wireless home network, households commonly experience issues such as slow downloads, dead zones and interference with other devices with their wireless networks.

The study, which is called “Consumer Interest in Wired Solutions to Wireless Home Networking Problems”,  found that nearly 40 percent of all U.S broadband households with a wireless router have and/or are currently experiencing problems with their wireless network.

Among those experiencing problems, 87 percent have experienced a slow connection or a dead zone, and 63 percent continue to experience these problems despite efforts to resolve them. This equates to 15 million households that continue to experience dead zones or slow wireless connections despite upgrades to Internet service or in-home equipment such as the purchase of a new router.

Also according to the study, 27 percent of respondents experiencing an issue with their wireless home network report that the problem can be attributed, at least in part, to too many devices connected to the Internet at the same time.

More than one-half of respondents experiencing wireless network problems would be “very comfortable” using a wired solution to improve the performance of their network. Specifically, 58 percent of all network owners report being “comfortable” (rating 5-7 on a 7-pt. scale) using the existing cable (coax) wiring in their homes to improve their home network’s performance. A similar number report being comfortable using the existing electrical wiring in their homes (56 percent), and 52 percent report being comfortable using Ethernet/Cat-5 wiring.

“Many consumers experience poor home network performance and congestion problems, and the number will increase as the number of Internet-connected devices in the home climbs,” says John Barrett, director of consumer analytics, Parks Associates. “Wired solutions are appealing options for resolving these problems.”

“The willingness by the end user to seek out and use a wired solution for their home network confirms what we have been saying all along—you still need a wire to do the heavy lifting for complete and comprehensive connectivity,” says Charles Cerino, president of the Multimedia over Coax Alliance (MoCA), which commissioned the study.

Additional highlights of the study include:

  • 28 percent of respondents experiencing wireless network problems have considered using Ethernet/Cat 5 wiring to improve their home network’s performance, while 27 percent have considered using the existing electrical wiring or the existing coax wiring in their home.
  • Owners of large homes are much more likely than those with smaller homes to consider using Ethernet, electrical wiring, or coax to improve their home network performance. Ninety-seven percent of respondents with a home larger than 3,000 square feet report considering at least one of these wired options, compared to 25 percent of owners of homes that are 2,000 square feet or smaller.
  • Consumers who have purchased networking equipment in the past to address a problem with their wireless network are also more likely to have considered using a wired solution. Seventy-nine percent of these network equipment purchasers have considered using a wired solution to improve their home networks, compared to 44 percent of those who have not made a network equipment purchase to address a home network issue.

“Consumers’ comfort with wired solutions signals an opportunity for industry players,” says Jennifer Kent, director of research quality and product development, Parks Associates. “The industry has focused most of its attention on consumers’ demand for networking mobility, but there remains a need for wired solutions that can address performance issues.”

These and other findings are the result of extensive research of 1,000 home network owners living in U.S. households with broadband Internet access. All respondents are heads-of-household ages 18 and older.

“The purpose of the research was to determine if end users in the U.S. would be inclined to use a wire if they were/are having wireless networking problems,” says Rob Gelphman, vice president of marketing and member relations at MoCA. “Though MoCA sponsored the research, we wanted someone with the expertise and prestige to get useful and credible responses. We were/are not looking to dissuade people from installing wireless networks. We just wanted to determine if there is interest in adding an existing wire and thus, if there is a market/channel that MoCA should address.”

The full report can be downloaded here. In terms of methodology, MoCA contracted Parks Associates to conduct a consumer survey to gain an in-depth understanding of home network owners’ current home network types, usage, issues, frustrations, and preferences. As part of this assessment, Parks Associates designed and fielded an online survey in February 2015 to 1,000 home owners in the U.S. Respondents were chosen at random but had to have broadband Internet access and a home network router. All respondents were heads of households, age 18 or older. 

Parks Associates estimates that there are 79 million home network households in the United States, which represents 82 percent of all households with broadband Internet access. About 61 million, or 64 percent of all broadband households, have a wireless home network.



  About the Author

Jason has covered low-voltage electronics as an editor since 1990. He joined EH Publishing in 2000, and before that served as publisher and editor of Security Sales, a leading magazine for the security industry. He served as chairman of the Security Industry Association’s Education Committee from 2000-2004 and sat on the board of that association from 1998-2002. He is also a former board member of the Alarm Industry Research and Educational Foundation. He is currently a member of the CEDIA Education Action Team for Electronic Systems Business. Jason graduated from the University of Southern California. Have a suggestion or a topic you want to read more about? Email Jason at [email protected]

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