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Meraki Reveals iPads Use 400% More Wi-Fi Data than the Average Mobile Device

We recently completed an anonymous survey of the end-user devices that connect to some of Meraki’s networks. The study reveals that iPads use significantly more Wi-Fi data than the average mobile device, and mobile platforms now outnumber desktop platforms in Wi-Fi networks. We also looked at the popularity of different device operating systems and the changes between 2010 and 2011.


  • The average iPad consumes over 400% more Wi-Fi data than the average Android, iPod, and iPhone.
  • Between 2010 and 2011, mobile platforms overtook desktop platforms in percentage of Wi-Fi devices.
  • iOS and Android together now account for 58% of Wi-Fi devices, compared to 33% just one year ago.
  • The iPhone is now the single most popular Wi-Fi device with 32% share.

Meraki Study Shows Mobile Platforms Overtake Desktop Platforms, Marked Rise of Android

To look at changes in end-user devices, we performed a comparative analysis between 2010 and 2011. The results show mobile platforms gained significant share over desktop platforms. Overall, iOS and Android together now account for 58% of Wi-Fi devices, compared to 33% just one year ago. Windows and Mac OS X together declined from 63% to 36%.

Our data shows iOS devices growing from 32% to 47%, and Android growing from 1% to 11%. In particular, the iPhone is now the most popular Wi-Fi device with 32% share. Desktop platforms declined, with Mac OS X going from 21% to 13%, and Windows shrinking from 42% to 23%.

Meraki’s Cloud Networking and Client Fingerprinting

Meraki’s unique cloud networking architecture enables in-depth analysis of user devices on our networks. During the past five years, we’ve deployed over 17,000 networks worldwide and connected more than 40 million unique end-user devices.

This data is made possible through our Client Fingerprinting technology. The technology identifies each device’s operating system, make, and model by analyzing network events and client information such as the NetBIOS name, MAC address, and other information. Once captured, this data is uploaded to the Cloud Controller. Due to our multi-tenant cloud architecture, insight into user devices is then made available to customers, and they can analyze network activity and troubleshoot client issues by accessing their network’s data from Meraki’s browser-based dashboard.

To collect these statistics, we anonymously surveyed over 100,000 randomly selected devices accessing general use, public, and educational Wi-Fi networks across the US. The survey looked at bandwidth usage and operating system popularity over selected periods in 2010 and 2011.