Wi-Fi Users Admit Interest In Accessing Neighbors' Wireless Networks

Some 44 percent of Wi-Fi wireless network users would enjoy the opportunity to access their neighbors' wireless networks, according to a poll by leading intelligent gateway solution provider 2Wire, Inc. (San Jose, CA). The poll, conducted in October 2003, was based on 200 consumers as part of a study into home networking trends. The results of the poll show that, unless security measures are in place, even the most well-meaning neighbors might be tempted to access a wireless network. The poll showed that 21 percent of Wi-Fi users can access their neighbor's wireless local area network (WLAN), and one in 25 even admitted to having accidentally logged onto a neighbor's network. Most could only see device names, but some were able to freely access files or the World Wide Web by means of their neighbor's network. According to Jaime Fink, Director of Product Management at 2Wire, "most wireless access devices have built-in security features such as encryption and password protection. However, users don't always activate these features or know where to find them." Fink notes "the survey shows that it's not enough to rely on neighborly spirit to avoid a security breach, whether accidental or deliberate. The responsibility lies with manufacturers and service providers to provide guidance and ensure users are properly protected." 2Wire, Inc. is a leading supplier of intelligent service delivery platforms for the DSL broadband market. The company's products include broadband residential gateways, which are distributed by major DSL service providers.

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