Wi-Fi technology is fundamentally changing the way families and friends communicate, and Wi-Fi-enabled devices have replaced television as the "gathering place" for both Americans and those abroad, according to results from a new poll conducted by Wakefield Research on behalf of the Wi-Fi Alliance.

The online survey, conducted in August 2010, gathered responses from more than 1,000 millennials (respondents ages 17 to 29) in the U.S. and 400 millennials in China, Japan and Korea.

The results illustrate that many respondents find it difficult to keep up with relationships without Wi-Fi access; 64 percent of U.S. respondents and 89 percent of respondents in China said they agreed it would be nearly impossible to maintain relationships with many friends without Wi-Fi; 44 percent of American respondents and 82 percent of Chinese respondents said the same would apply to family relationships.

For young adults, Wi-Fi-enabled digital devices are now more central to life than TV. Two-thirds of respondents in the U.S. and four-fifths of those in China reported they spend more time on Wi-Fi than watching television. Almost half of U.S. respondents (44 percent) first used Wi-Fi when they were 17 or younger. Almost 70 percent of respondents spend four or more hours on a Wi-Fi connection daily.  In another telling statistic, 84 percent of respondents in the U.S. and 93 percent in Korea were more likely to carry a handheld digital device than a watch.

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