AT&T iPhone Users Use Wi-Fi More Than Verizon iPhone Users [Study]

A survey released this morning from the mobile ad exchange company Mobclix reveals that users of the Verizon iPhone use Wi-Fi less often than users of the AT&T iPhone. Also revealed in the study, Mobclix’s data suggests that larger metropolitan cities have a higher amount of iPhone usage over the AT&T iPhone.

According to the graph published by Mobclix, the largest areas of Verizon iPhone usage include Seattle, Chicago, New York City, Boston, and Los Angeles. This is due to the common assumption that AT&T has signal problems in large dense cities.

In its report Mobclix also reports that AT&T iPhone users use Wi-Fi about 53% of the time and Verizon users use their Wi-Fi 38% of the time. The only explanation of this is the reception problem with AT&T. Users get so fed up with dropped signal that they find the nearest open Wi-Fi point and continue with what they are doing. Granted, this isn’t an optimal way to use an iPhone and you can’t make calles over Wi-Fi but for most users they seem pretty happy about it.

Note that AT&T has a vast Wi-Fi hotspot network with over 24,000 hotspots throughout the U.S., and with the iPhone supporting auto-authentication, these points are easy to pick up and connect to when traveling or on-the-go. Another bonus to throw in is that none of the Wi-Fi usage counts towards the monthly data usage plan.

The best part about this graph is the number of users who paid the $325 early termination fee to switch to the Verizon iPhone. 2 in 3 users paid that fee with the reasons being all the same and talked about reception issues and the Personal Hotspot feature.

Mobclix mentions that 14% of iPhone 4 users are on the Verizon Network and account for 4% of total iPhone users, which is pretty good for only being on the Verizon network for a month.

How Wi-Fi Helps Dramatically Cut Small Business Costs

It seems that no matter where you go these days, there is Wi-Fi available. Connecting to the web has become a part of our daily lives and being able to do so where you eat, shop, and mingle is part of what makes social networking really work. But are there more benefits of Wi-Fi to small business owners than attracting young tech-savvy visitors to their stores?

Even if your business doesn’t see customers face-to-face, Wi-Fi has been embraced as a cost saving tool for businesses that don’t want to go through the expense of having someone run expensive ethernet cable through their building. Having everyone’s work station on a wired connection is a pricey ordeal especially in an office environment. The contractor, cable, ports, routers, switches, and maintenance all require a substantial cost to the business owner. For an office requiring 25 ethernet jacks, the cost of having wired networking set up can reach in to the tens of thousands.

Setting up one or even multiple secured wireless routers is substantially cheaper and easier, and you won’t need a small team of contractors running cable to do it. All you need is a little know-how and a closet or spare desk space.

Wireless N brought about a much faster connection allowing practically the same throughput users were enjoying with wired 10/100 class connections. While some budget desktops used for business don’t currently support Wi-Fi out of the box, USB adapters are currently very cheap and generally work very well.

What if your office is just big enough that the signal isn’t very strong in certain areas of the building? Wireless repeaters and range expanders are an excellent way to boost the signal to reach the extra space.

Security is a concern often associated with wireless networking, and for good reason. Some popular and older methods of securing these networks are easily cracked and vulnerable to attacks. There are, however, methods for securing a wireless network that are pretty solid. The use WPA/WPA2-Enterprise, firewalls, VPNs, and VLANs the right way can lock down a wireless signal making it extremely difficult for a hacker to access the network in any realistic amount of time. Again, nothing is foolproof.

Wireless networking has and continues to save small businesses money. In some cases, the cost savings from minimizing the use of wired networking can be substantial enough to make a serious difference in a company’s financial outlook.

Do you agree or disagree? Please leave a comment below explaining your preferred method for cutting costs.

Rover Puck Review

Yay! Finally, I’ll be able to… wait. No, I can’t. The Rover Puck (running on Clear’s service) isn’t working for me, and their customer service is nothing short of a joke.

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I don’t know why, but I seem to be having the worst luck with technology lately. For some odd reason, everything I touch seems to stop working near-immediately. And you know me – I’m about as gentle as they come!

You can’t always count on having access wherever you go in the world. I plucked down some serious dough to buy the Rover Puck to make sure I’d have an access point with me. This device promises to keep up to eight devices connected to a 4G network. However, I am pretty disappointed in the Puck. During the first 24 hours of the 48 hour free grace period, I wasn’t able to get online at all… no matter what I tried.

The Rover company is actually Clear – in Rover clothing. Clear is one of the worst consumer electronics companies on the planet in terms of their dastardly customer service options. Clear makes it nearly impossible to cancel any type of service with them – and charges you an arm and a leg to do so. Rover claims to have a month-to-month contract, which seems nice on the surface… IF you can even make it work.

I can’t recommend this product, folks. I just can’t do it. Not only are they a Clear company, they’re using a proprietary cable. That’s another rant in and of itself, as you know. Setting aside the fact that the product won’t work, I cannot in good conscious tell you to try something out that has such horrible support behind it. In order to give the Puck a fair chance at doing what it should, I hopped into a chat with these people. That was a painful experience.

Well, so much for the idea of connecting to a 4G / WiMax network.

Plugin Amplifies Web Insecurity

There should be an image here!How secure do you feel with your social networking sessions, given the fact that both Twitter and Facebook offer crap security built in? What I always found comical are the masses adding every life detail to their profiles. I mean, do these individuals really feel that invisible online? Guess what? Nothing could be further from the truth.

As this article happens to point out, there is now an actual plugin available that allows users to snatch up personal login details over the Wi-Fi airwaves from people using specific social media Web sites. Clearly, if there was an argument for NOT relying on public Wi-Fi, this would be it.

Folks, unencrypted traffic is a real problem. And even before this, public Wi-Fi was a terrible security risk needing to be avoided at all costs. Whether this means taking the approach of a WiMax option or simply using Wi-Fi with the understanding that doing by using a secure remote login solution, might be the better choice. I tend to use either SSH or TeamViewer. In both cases, I take steps to make sure my data traffic is secured outside of the safety of my LAN.

Truth be told, email, logins, and other stuff without the benefit of SSL in play is open game regardless of the location. But unlike being at home, using public Wi-Fi means that there is a greater likelihood of having your data sniffed as you surf the Web.

[Photo above by Ralph Aichinger / CC BY-ND 2.0]

Beware Of Zombie Networks

There should be an image here!Everyone loves access to free wifi. After all, it costs us nothing while giving us instant access to the Web within a matter of seconds. But there is a hidden dark side to connecting blindly to foreign wireless networks. Often, these too good to be true network opportunities can actually be honey-pots designed to do malicious things to your computing experience. In other instances, it’s just a bug.

Take this article for example, in which users are being tricked into connecting to unknown ad-hoc wireless connections which means that everything is running through a computer rather than a router.  While not an issue for those relying on newer releases of Windows, those unpatched XP users out there are likely to run into the problem of the old “Free Public Wifi” conundrum.

The obvious moral of the story is to keep those systems patched and running the most up to date software possible. Unless this is running on an isolated LAN without Web access, it’s always wise to assume that something is trying to get in or worse, trying to get out. However you look at it, this is an issue that to this very day has proven to be a problem.

Free Wi-Fi At Starbucks?

There should be an image here!I can honestly say that the last time I was inside of a Starbucks was eons ago. Drive-through, yes, but certainly not visiting inside or accessing Wi-Fi. For those of you who are regular Starbucks visitors, however, you may be happy to hear that Wi-Fi is going to be free for you in future visits.

Coming July 1st, Starbucks will be offering up free Wi-Fi to the masses. And I think this is a great marketing move for the company. Sometimes, freebies go a long way. But before getting too excited, remember the old Milton Friedman adage that I am always spouting about: “there is no such thing as a free lunch”; there is no exception to this rule with free Wi-Fi.

Those connecting to and enjoying the free Wi-Fi at Starbucks coming in July are likely going to notice a presence from companies such as AOL and Yahoo!, among others. The idea is to make sure this is not too annoying, so the content you will be seeing will be as targeted as possible. But, rest assured, it will be ad supported at some level. My take is: so long as I can close the ads, who cares? It’s free.

[Photo above by kalandrakas / CC BY-ND 2.0]

[awsbullet:Michael Gill]

A Router That Doesn’t Fail

One wouldn’t think locating a router that wasn’t going to overheat — or just fail altogether due to things giving out — to be such a tall order. But the fact of the matter is that most consumer routers are crap.

It’s true and taking the time to do a bit of searching around the Web would lend a bit of credence to this claim. Most people seem to have troubles when trying to get any kind of reliability out of most routers offering Wi-Fi broadcasting ability.

For myself personally, the problem was so bad that I finally opted to buy a Draytek router. While the configuration is about as complex as one might find with a commercial router, this SoHo ready unity is almost impossible to overheat or brick. I have not rebooted it since buying it back in 2008.

A cheaper option for those who want to keep things a bit cheaper is to simply keep the router and Wi-Fi functions separate. While not as foolproof as the Draytek router, it does keep your router from getting so hot and will ensure the packets keep on flowing. Just something to consider next time you go to replace yet another bricked router.


iPad Wi-Fi Issues To Be Addressed In Update

There should be an image here!The iPad offers some jaw dropping functionality and  a new way to use a portable computer. And in general, it’s just pretty darned cool to use. Sadly, all of this goodness is not free of one critical flaw.

It seems that the iPad Wi-Fi is, well, less than dependable. So Apple is set to support this in what will be an apparent firmware update. And you know something? This is pretty sad.

No, really, how do you release a Wi-Fi product, using one kind of wireless device, and NOT realize it has wireless issues? Come on Apple, you don’t design your Macs this poorly. So why such a poor design with the iPad?

Apple’s Flash Alternative

Faster Wi-Fi is always nice, don’t get me wrong. And it’s true that a combination of proper use of not broadcasting your SSID bundled with WPA encryption can go a long way as a security deterrent.

But the truth of the matter is that wired remains more secure than unwired. Yes, once data packets are sent out on the open wilds of the Internet, the data is not secure at that point.

Speaking for myself, a new wireless standard sounds pretty darned cool. But I will also be entertained in watching how our existing ISPs plan on keeping up. Cable companies are already screwed, so this leaves the fiber providers. I wonder how long it’ll take to see all of this implode on itself as a pipe dream. Wait a second… never mind. No, this is to only be something on local networks… not at the ISP level. Awesome! Now we can have blazing speeds on the Intranet while ISPs continue to choke on it at the Internet level. Now that’s progress… sort of.

[awsbullet:John R. Vacca]

A Reminder On How Unsecured Wi-Fi Is

Seems that cracking Wi-Fi is easier than ever, thanks to some Wi-Fi cracking kits being sold out of China. While it is said to be illegal in China, not just here, seems that this is hardly a deterrent for the shady sellers to stop selling these “kits.”

Now when it comes to WPA vs WEP, I still believe that WPA makes for a better stopping point or deterrent than WEP. I find that WPA simply supports better security standards, be it nothing perfect, mind you.

No, the news of these types of Wi-Fi hacking kits is likely nothing new. I mean, the software has been available for an age; it’s just now being pushed into the hands of more script kiddies. Too bad we don’t have a consumer ready alternative released just yet…

[awsbullet:wireless security hack]

Comcast Usage – Good News With Some Bad News

Honestly, I never was really too big on the idea of having my data metered, but I also realize that this is up to the ISP in question. Yes, because of the lack of competition in many areas, Comcast — among other ISPs — are free to do the following.

Now this was not something I received — I actually had it sent to me. Thankfully, my ISP is based on a fiber connection, not cable or DSL, and is also able to use the latest technology to ensure I am not going to be metered. But one thing appears to be clear, folks: cable companies are looking to start metering your usage and that stinks.

Some folks might ask why this is a big deal? Well, I would point out that in my household alone, we are using Hulu, Roku (Netflix, Amazon On-Demand), surfing the Web and downloading Linux distros, updates, and the list goes on. There is no way I would want to waste my time trying to figure out whether or not I am using up my quota of allowed Internet. Thankfully, I chose to live in an area where I have three broadband choices. Obviously, for many others, this is not always an option. But for those who do have a choice, Comcast is going to lose its biggest broadband usage customers as metered usage is not the way to go.

[awsbullet:internet filtering access]

Wi-Fi: Apple’s Enemy?

Are we seriously to believe that Wi-Fi is to become the enemy of Apple products? Well, at least for apps in the App Store, apparently. Seems that we now need to concern ourselves with the fact that Apple’s App Store is beginning to ban products that can help people avoid the horrible AT&T network.

So kiss goodbye the various Wi-Fi finders and other discovery tools. And in exchange, we in turn will be stuck with AT&T’s craptastic network. Personally, I find Apple’s need to make the iPhone suck as much as possible unfortunate at best… unacceptable at worst.

Clearly instances like this, among other choices Apple has made recently lead me to believe that eventually, we’re going to see more people leaving Apple’s way of doing things for alternatives. The company is fast becoming the next Microsoft. It’s rather sad.

The Magic School Bus

Like most of you, I walked to school as a kid. And those who did ride the bus certainly did not do so with the benefit of anything remotely like wireless Internet. At best, someone might have brought a transistor radio with an extra set of ear-buds, perhaps a Walkman. In today’s schools however, it looks as if things are definitely becoming more digital than ever. The NY Times is reporting that one school bus in Arizona is benefiting from an experiment in Wi-Fi. So a bus load of kids who were rowdy before are apparently being sucked into their mobile phones and laptops, thanks to this wireless connectivity.

As cool as this is, I am having a difficult time getting my head around a bunch of kids actually being quiet on a school bus — especially when they were anything but before the Wi-Fi! Does access to technology honestly make this big of a difference? And what about those students who might not have access to a laptop while on the bus? How are they reacting? However that is going down, the article was pretty clear in the huge difference in homework being done and other aspects of productivity.

I guess for me this is all so new. While I am big into computers now, back when I was in school, they were really not available yet. I grew up in the era of Ditto machines, number 2 pencils, and Pee-Chee folders. This being said, we used to see a lot of doodling, too. So yes, I can understand the benefit of providing Wi-Fi on a bus. But the question for me remains. We are not talking about students using paper and books, we’re talking laptops. How do the students who cannot afford these things feel if they ride a bus where others have these things and they do not? Just thinking out loud on that one.

[awsbullet:school bus toy]

iPhone And Skype Over 3G – Are We There Yet?

So my wife’s best friend has moved to Guam with her husband who serves in the Navy as an officer. They were told by AT&T that their iPhones would be supported over there. Apparently, this is not entirely true. Likely due to the fact that outside networks have been disabled by choice, both individuals discovered upon arrival that they are out of luck… unless they want to go roaming for $2 a minute or so.

Clearly, the logical approach to this problem is to use Skype. I already set up my wife’s phone with it and they should be good to go. And considering that recently the news came out that AT&T is allowing Skype over its “blazing fast” 3G network, this is a fantastic option! Well, perhaps not perfect after all. With my wife running the latest iPhone updates, her phone, clear as day, shows Skype giving a message stating that it will not support a Skype connection over 3G. I guess the news of Skype working over 3G is a bit early then? Whatever…

I suppose the good news is that she will be able to maintain contact with her best friend of over 25 years (since childhood) thanks to the power of VoIP. Too bad we could not get a more definitive answer on the whole 3G thing!

[awsbullet:iphone tips]

Google Goes GaGa With The Free Wifi

There should be an image here!Apparently nothing says the holidays like the gift of Google sponsored free wifi. And that is exactly what Google provided for many air travelers this holiday season. Based on this report, the total of offerings is 47 US airports offering this free wifi from Google. Not bad!

But what, it gets better than that. Also included in the list of sources for the Google provided wifi includes Virgin America flights. Yes, the free wifi benefits seems to just keep on coming. And why not, it is clearly something Google is feeling very generous with it would seem.

Despite this good news, some folks are a bit cautious about all of this free stuff being tossed around by Google lately. And rightfully so. The fact is that these days, we are not all that far from this. And it’s not even 2010 yet!