Most college students in the U.S. spent a good part of this month prepping and taking their fall midterm exams, and straining their campus networks as a result. IT teams who manage the campus network, however, are tested each and every day in subjects like BYOD and network performance. With the average student carrying around at least two wireless devices, campus networks are under pressure to deliver a sustainable and consistent online experience.
Our recent survey of 313 students attending U.S. colleges and universities found that 67 percent of students had a minimum of two to four wireless devices connected to the campus network at all times. Adding to this dilemma is the constant introduction of new mobile devices and wearables like the Apple Watch.
Not only are students more connected than ever before, but they are using these devices for bandwidth hoarding activities. The survey revealed that 63 percent of students spend one to four hours a day streaming media using services like Spotify, Netflix and YouTube. It’s becoming a constant battle for campus IT between being able to provide a positive user experience and maintaining network integrity.
Given the additional pressure that new technology is bringing to the campus network and the fiscal pressures for IT to do more with less, here are three steps for network administrators to consider:
- Increase your level of visibility. You can’t fix problems that you don’t know exist. With network performance monitoring you can rapidly respond with real-time alerting to fix problems quickly.
- Watch out for wearables. College students have high expectations for being able to use their shiny new wearable or mobile device of choice, whenever and wherever they want. It’s a generation with expectations for technology that is not going to change. Campus IT teams need to adapt. Or at least prepare to do so.
- Know your configuration. Who knows what’s on your big sprawling campus network? You can if you are able to manage network configuration. Compare what is running on your network vs. what is authorized to do so. You can also schedule regular configuration audits and get alerted when configurations have changed.