My colleague Ina Sebastian is currently wrapping up a piece on how consumers buying home Wi-Fi networking gear today are making their buying decisions. Are they looking for brands? low pricing? security features? The answer is that many of them simply don't know and aren't sure.

This stuff is still hard for the average person to set up despite many recent improvements in the user interface. Most are intimidated by the process.

A dialogue with one of my colleagues last week:

Colleague: "Hey. I have a question about my Wi-Fi network at home. Can you help me?"

Julie: "Sure. What's up?"

Colleague: "Sometimes my security is on. Sometimes it isn't. What is up with that?"

Julie: "Not likely."

Colleague: "No, really. Sometimes my network shows up as encrypted. Sometimes it doesn't."

Julie: "Is 'your' network named Linksys, 2Wire, or Netgear?"

Colleague "Hey, how did you know that? Yeah, my network's name is 'Linksys'."

Anyway, you can probably imagine the rest of the story. My colleague was shocked to learn that he was logging onto his neighbor's network. Better yet, his neighbor's network has a stronger signal in his flat than his own network. Go figure.