Connectivity on college campuses is growing in capacity and speed, according to a college Wi-Fi survey from the Association of College and University Housing Officers-International (ACUHO-I), an organization of college university housing officers.
The group’s annual ResNet Report found that two in three colleges provide full campus coverage.
“As we survey today’s higher education landscape, we are struck by how Wi-Fi and connectivity has rapidly emerged as the lynchpin for student engagement, satisfaction, and success,” ACUHO-I CEO Mary DeNiro said in a press release. “More universities are responding to a new generation of students prioritizing robust and ubiquitous Wi-Fi and connectivity as an important criterion for their college decision. Our seventh annual ResNet study shows more schools going all out to make this a reality. It’s our hope that this study provides administrators insight into how best to meet connectivity challenges as we continue to innovate and grow.”
The seventh edition of the study featured input from 312 institutions. Sixty-four percent of schools in the survey offer Wi-Fi to 81% to 100% of their campuses. Smartphones for the first time were the biggest consumers of bandwidth. Laptops were second and smart TVs third. The majority of Wi-Fi budgets were between $750,000 and $1 million, with 28% of schools outsourcing or considering outsourcing residential networks. Schools outsourcing or considering outsourcing academic, administration and non-residential school networks hit 16%.
While all those findings signify more interest and investment in ResNets compared to the previous report, the survey found that strategic planning and collaboration is fading and that support services are not evolving.
Campus Wi-Fi Trends
Last summer, 36 universities joined Comcast’s Xfinity on Campus program. Comcast reports the number of colleges who use their connectivity solutions is now over 100. New participating schools include the University of Michigan, the University of Notre Dame and the University of Pennsylvania.
Enfranchising the educational community goes beyond the confines of the campus. Early last year, iPass partnered with Jisc to bring off-campus WiFi services to higher education. Jisc’s international roaming service, eduroam, enables student and faculty staff to access WiFi at any university campus in the world.