Almost 75% of colleges now offering Wi-Fi across 80 to 100% of their campuses
The 2019 State of ResNet report reveals that college campuses are pushing the envelope when it comes to Wi-Fi connectivity, with one in three schools offering bandwidths of 7GB or more.
The Lowdown: According to the report, published by the Association of College and University Housing Officers-International (ACUHO-I), college and university campuses are among the most demanding wireless environments today, thanks to rising bandwidth demand and coverage.
The Details: “Wi-Fi everywhere” is the new normal at college campuses these days, says the report, revealing the following findings:
• Three our of four schools now allow students to connect an unlimited number of devices to their network.
• Almost one-third of colleges provide 7GB or more of bandwidth dedicated to ResNet (residential network services offered to students residing in on-campus residential halls); 74% offer 1GB or more. Those numbers represent a nearly threefold increase over what they were in 2012.
• Almost all business officers polled (98%) said they believe superior Wi-Fi connectivity is critical to upholding a university’s mission; 95% of housing and technology officers believe that connectivity is critical to attracting and retaining students.
• Annual IT budgets on college campuses are expanding significantly to accommodate student needs. Most budgets last year ranged from $750K to $2.5M, with only 13% of schools saying their budgets exceeded $2.5M. This year, one-third of schools said their annual IT budgets exceed the high end of that range.
• More colleges are outsourcing IT to keep up with technology and student demand. This year, 16% of schools outsource their ResNet services, up from 10% in 2016; 30% are outsourcing IPTV, up from 8% in 2016; 7% are outsourcing Internet service for academic, administrative, and non-residential parts of campus; and 10% are outsourcing help-desk services, which are in dire need of a revamp, with on-site/walk-in, phone, and e-mail support being the norm and social media and texting not being leveraged appropriately.
• For the second year in a row, smartphones topped the list of the “greediest” consumers of bandwidth (named by 73% of schools), followed by desktops and laptops (59%). As for applications, Netflix was named the most bandwidth-intensive by 89% of schools.
The Impact: The rapidly changing technology landscape at higher learning institutions poses significant opportunity for solution and service providers serving that vertical market.
Background: This is the eighth installment of the ACUHO-I study to measure ResNet policies and practices in higher education. A total of 351 respondents representing 200 institutions participated in the 2019 survey.
The Buzz: “The swarm of everyday devices that connect to the Web is changing everything. With student expectations for ‘always on’ Wi-Fi for any device anywhere, campus networks have become one of the most challenging initiatives for universities today,” said Mary DeNiro, CEO of ACUHO-I. “Our eighth annual ResNet study shows more schools rising to meet these expectations—providing students high-quality and reliable Wi-Fi not only in the classroom but also for online learning, entertainment, and in their living spaces. We believe this study will better prepare administrators to meet the connectivity needs of prospective and current students who judge the quality of their campus experience by its Wi-Fi.”