Page 18 - Campus Technology, January/February 2020
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Top WiFi Challenges in Higher Ed
At universities across the country, no one is planning for less wireless access. It’s all about more!
ON THE PERFECT college campus, everyone will have super-fast, reliable and secure wireless access. No matter where you go, what devic- es or apps you’re using, or how many users are on the network, administrators, faculty and students can work, teach and study effi- ciently, and enjoy wireless experiences they’ve always dreamed about. While noth- ing is ever perfect, colleges are working hard to deliver; unfortunately, there are a lot of challenges along the way.
All organizations have witnessed connectiv- ity demand spikes since deploying wireless technology. Because of their high-use set- tings, higher education institutions are experi- encing particularly high increases. What’s more, the Internet of Things (IoT) trend has only fueled demand and the rapid adoption of new mobility-enabled technologies. Here are the key challenges universities face as well as strategies for staying ahead of the curve.
Top Challenges: Complexity, Devices, Uptime, Focus
Although every higher education wireless project will have its own unique needs, four key challenges are common to all:
1) Technology complexity. With the domi- nance of technology, the increasing complex- ity of our IT environment is impacting colleges
and universities. Campus IT teams are now facing an unprecedented array of challenges. For starters, they need to keep up and adapt to technological advances, juggle shifting user requirements and evolving learning models. They must also contend with the ever-growing reliance on network connectivity and the expectation of anytime, anywhere access.
2) Device proliferation. Universities are also being tested by an explosion in internet- connected devices. Students are bringing more devices to campuses than ever before and using up more bandwidth in the process. And this is putting a strain on WiFi connec- tivity. Instead of bringing two or three wire- less devices with them to college, students are now bringing an average of seven devic- es. And when students come to campus, par- ticularly at private institutions, they expect WiFi to be ubiquitous.
3) Unpredictable network uptime. Given how much of the college experience is now managed and delivered digitally, wireless net- work downtime, or even just sluggish perfor- mance, can cause major problems. Meeting this “always on” expectation has become more and more difficult, especially since many cam- puses have wireless infrastructures that weren’t built to handle today’s requirements. These networks were designed for lighter duty
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