Bandwidth on college campuses has nearly tripled since 2012, with more than 71 percent of schools now offering at least 1 GB, and one in four offering 7GB or more, finds the ACUTA/ACUHO-I 2017 State of ResNet Report. Just as universities are rising to meet challenges posed by the Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) phenomena, the Internet of Things (IoT) trend is growing quickly and is now taking a foothold on campuses around the country, causing bandwidth demand to reach new, unprecedented levels.
The report, published by The Association for College and University Technology Advancement (ACUTA) and the Association of College and University Housing Officers-International (ACUHO-I), is the sixth installment of a study to measure the pulse of ResNet practices and policies in higher education. A total of 450 respondents representing 320 institutions participated in the 2017 survey, a 77 percent increase in completion rates since the first study.
“The ‘Internet of Things’ blizzard has descended on U.S. higher-education campuses, bringing with it unprecedented network challenges as student demand for bandwidth reaches new, higher levels every school year,” said Sharon Moore, chair of the ACUTA Environmental Scanning Task Force and Deputy CIO at Smith College. “Our sixth annual ResNet study shows a bit of silver lining this year as we see more schools than ever finding ways to satisfy skyrocketing demand. It’s our hope that this study provides administrators insight into how best to meet the challenges as IoT changes the landscape when students arrive on campus.”
Key insights from the 2017 ACUTA /ACUHO-I State of ResNet Report include:
- Bandwidth Explodes, though Wi-Fi Needs Boosting: As each school year commences, students come to school with more devices. And they’re using these devices for bandwidth-greedy applications like TV/video consumption and other web-based rich content. To meet these needs, more than 71% of campuses now dedicate at least one gigabyte to the ResNet, a more than three-fold increase from 2012. And, for the first time, 1 in 4 schools is offering 7GB or more. Percentage of on-campus student areas with strong wireless connection dropped six percent to 77 percent.
- Wireless Costs Go Up, Funding Catches Up: While over half the schools expect wireless costs to increase in the next two years, an equal number saw an increase in ResNet funding. This is encouraging news since funding had lagged behind increasing costs in past years.
(Next page: More of the Report’s findings)
- ResNet Now Top of Mind Among Administrators: More administrators are realizing the importance of technology’s contribution to the success of their schools. Ninety-three percent of technology officers and 77 percent of Business Officers believe a high-performing (coverage and capacity) ResNet is very important in attracting and retaining on-campus students.
- Devices and Apps More Bandwidth Greedy than Ever: Devices and applications are increasingly high-tech and more bandwidth-greedy. Desktops/laptops continue to hold the #1 spot as biggest bandwidth consuming devices, while smartphones surged to #2, surpassing tablets. And new devices and applications are coming on strong, with TV/video taking the top spot in apps.
- Outsourcing—More than Just a Way to Trim Costs: While cost savings have traditionally been cited as the reason for outsourcing, this year we see a new dynamic. Administrators are citing various reasons for outsourcing. Keeping up with changing technology, saving time, providing more IT resources, and improving services now rank above or equal to cost savings.
- Strategic Planning on the Rise: A new trend on the horizon showing up in this year’s study sees strategic planning being embraced by more schools than ever before. Seventy-one percent now have a strategic plan, doubling from just 34% in 2012.
- It’s a 24/7 World, but Not When it Comes to Support: Better support is still needed by the majority of schools. Less than 15% of schools provide 24/7 support. Even in today’s digital age, low-tech support prevails. And all this while rapidly-evolving technologies such as IPTV increase the need for more holistic “anytime, anywhere” support.
ACUHO-I Executive Director and CEO, Mary DeNiro adds, “Higher-education administrators understand that we serve one of the savviest group of technology early adopters–college students. Whether they are in the classroom or in the residence halls, they expect to be always connected. Their on-campus experiences can be made or broken by technology infrastructure, Wi-Fi and support. Now more than ever, it’s imperative that housing, IT, and business officers collaborate to create an optimal environment for living and learning. By working together, schools can ride these new trends to greater satisfaction.”
The full report, available free at www.acuta.org/resnet, provides further trends and insights into higher-education’s ResNet structures, present and future network infrastructure issues, and staffing service and support.
About the 2017 State of ResNet Report
Two leading professional organizations (ACUTA and ACUHO-I) representing college and university Business, IT and Housing Officers have joined forces to conduct the sixth annual study of ResNet practices. ResNets provide wired Internet, Wi-Fi, cable TV services and more to students living in residence halls. The survey was conducted from October 2016 through December 2016. A combined total of 450 respondents representing 320 unique colleges and universities completed the survey. Of the 450 total responses, 192 respondents indicated their primary job was related to IT, 85 to Business and 173 to Housing.
Material from a press release was used in this report.