Entertainment devices draining campus wi-fi

According to the Apogee study, iPad use increased 275 percent from 2012 to 2013, while Android tablets saw an increase of 159 percent. Android phones and iPhones make up more than 50 percent of connected devices at campuses.

But it’s what students are doing with those devices that may be causing the largest issues.

In 2011, Ohio University students watching Netflix on a rainy day caused internet outages across the campus. Universities have found themselves temporarily banning steaming websites like YouTube and Spotify.

The 2013 State of ResNet Report, released by ACUTA, found that six in 10 campus IT officials think Blu-Ray players are a primary culprit behind bandwidth woes. More than 60 percent said video games and video game systems are one of the largest wi-fi leaches.

The problem isn’t a new one. More than a decade ago, campuses ran into similar issues with file-sharing services like Napster.

While those early issues we’re dealt with by simply banning what were already legally dubious applications, today’s wi-fi-connected devices can’t be taken away so easily. IT officials are locked in an arms race between network capabilities and student expectations for entertainment.

“There is an expectation right now among students of, ‘Any device, any time, as much as we want,’” Joe Harrington, director of network services at Boston College (BC), said last September. “This has [IT officials] back on their heels a little bit, looking for ways to deal with this proactively rather than reactively.”

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