McDonald's has revealed some interesting statistics on use of the free WiFi in its fast food restaurants. The list of the top ten restaurants in terms of WiFi usage are:
To see so many London locations in the list is no surprise, as a global brand many tourists will see McDonald's as a familiar face on the high street, and perhaps already know about free WiFi in their own countries. The reasons as to why certain locations are so busy are open to debate, McDonald's suggested a lot of this may be down to business travellers, but as ever local factors can be an issue, e.g. in Consett the branch is very close to Derwentside College.
What is astounding is the amount of data traffic generated, some 500 GigaBytes of data a day, which when averaged out per restaurant is a lot lower than many peoples data consumption at home, but compared to when the free WiFi was launched in 2007 it is ten times larger and double the amount from one year ago.
One thing to remember when using free WiFi is that the networks are not encrypted so your data is potentially visible to anyone with the desire to look at it. Sites that use SSL (HTTPS) are still encrypted, but a more secure option is to use a Virtual Private Network to hide all your data securely, and is something that many corporates insist that travelling business people use. BTOpenZone and BTFon offers a Cisco VPN solution for free on its hotspots.
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