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Emerging Wireless Technology Trends on Campus – Part 1

By Mike Collado
October 28th, 2013

One of the most pressing issues institutions of higher learning face is not what’s going on inside the classroom or even the overall decline in federal and private funding.

A critical issue is how colleges and universities are prepared to manage the ever-increasing demands on their communications technology infrastructure.

Is higher education keeping up with the pace of change?

Are colleges and universities not only equipped today, but also prepared to handle anything that might come tomorrow from move-in day, to game day, to total campus shutdown in the event of a crisis?

What are educational institutions doing to keep up with the rapid rate of change? And what will they need to do in the future?

Current Practices and Ongoing Challenges

Communications environments are getting pushed to their limits in higher education today.

The demands on the infrastructure are many and varied.

Students, who tend to be on the bleeding edge of technology, carry a full arsenal of wireless devices on campus – smartphones, tablets, mobiles gaming systems, and notebooks.

They use increasing amounts of bandwidth with their texting, social networking, video chats, and streaming video.

Students also look to the campus Wi-Fi as a means of lowering monthly data charges on smartphones and tablets.

Teachers leverage communications technology within the classroom as current teaching standards change to embrace new technology based teaching methods.

University and academic requirements call for increased use of cloud-based networks for storage and parallel processing applications. Departments requiring access to these applications are often in different buildings across campuses.

Stadiums and arenas, as well as hospitals and research departments, present unique challenges to the communications and IT infrastructure.

Ensuring public safety, and the ability to communicate effectively with university personnel, students, visitors, and public safety officials in the case of an emergency, has never been greater.

The net effect is that the wired and wireless networks that facilitate all of these services and applications are reaching–and exceeding–capacity.

We are maxing out our networks. This reality forces campus IT departments to scramble to find appropriate and cost-effective solutions today.

Next Post: It’s a balancing act challenge when demand is up and funding is down

Note: A version of this article was originally published in 2013 Fall ACUTA Journal.

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