Campus and hall of residence WiFi is becoming a major issue for universities and schools. When Wi-Fi is running fine, no one notices. When it goes down occasionally, students will complain privately. If the Wi-Fi remains consistently bad, they may decide to live off campus.
The quality of WiFi can also be a factor in the student’s decision of where to attend as WiFi access and network performance are usually visible during campus visits. There are numerous forums, such as Yik Yak, where students can express their displeasure with a second-rate campus WiFi network.
So what’s the cause?
In the past, PCs and laptops often connected to campus networks via Ethernet, yet they are now almost exclusively reliant on WiFi. Educational content has also shifted heavily to video in recent times, driving up bandwidth needs both inside and outside of the classroom.
Smaller mobile devices have less powerful WiFi clients and therefore require stronger coverage to connect. There is also ever increasing congestion and interference from the many other networks and devices in the local area.
In this world of constant access being required by so many people, what are the best steps to take to ensure students don’t run into problems?
Providing quality hall of residence WiFi starts with a site survey to understand where to locate the Wi-Fi access points. This is something we can help with. We will locate access points capable of providing wired-like performance and set in place a system that can implement strategies for which devices are permitted and what resources, including bandwidth, each device can access.
We can then monitor the network performance and provide analytics to give you the ability to recognize when the network starts to get congested, as well as spot rogue devices. And if performance ever does become a problem, you’ll be able to tell if it is within the campus or caused by your internet bandwidth, or if it is due to a slow remote server.
Not only can the quality of the campus residential WiFi network be an important factor in recruiting students and ensuring they have the best possible campus experience, it may also leave a lasting impression of their university experience.