The outsourcing of campus ResNet services is here

College and university IT officials have for years warned that students’ ever-growing pile of mobile devices would eventually be too much for local residential networks (ResNet).

Some students bring up to seven mobile devices to campus.

It was a valid prediction, it seems.

Farming out ResNet services to private contractors is gaining traction in higher education, as five universities announced Nov. 13 that they would hand over network services to Apogee, a leader in ResNet management.

The schools varied in size, from Midwestern State University to Navarro College to the University of Nebraska Omaha. They all had one thing in common: they struggled to keep up with students’ demand for bandwidth, which is increasing at an alarming rate

“Across the country, universities are grappling with rising student expectations for fast, wireless and unlimited internet connectivity while juggling limited IT budgets,” said Michael Mills, director of Housing and Dining Services at Midwestern State University.

Mills added that the private ResNet services were set up in three months, and have so far satisfied student demand.

Midwestern State students will be able to connect up to five devices to the new ResNet. For $59 a semester, a student can connect up to 10 devices to the campus’s ResNet.

The kinds of devices that students use are varied. Almost every student who responded to the survey said they own at least one digital device. Laptops are the most common, with 93 percent of students saying they own one, but smart phones were prevalent too, with 78 percent saying they own the devices.

Thirty-five percent of students own tablets. Last year, that number was 7 percent.

Educators can connect and follow the conversation on Twitter with the hashtag #eCNMobile.

See page 2 for details on how universities deal with major spikes in bandwidth use…