How to build a campus wireless network for the future
- UCI worked with its wireless provider, Cisco Systems, to enhance wireless networking capacity across all of its residence halls, a move that officials say was critical in helping to recruit students looking for technically-modern campus facilities.
- Bethel University increased the number of access points around campus to meet the bandwidth needs of more than 6,000 students and outsourced network monitoring to its service vendor to ensure maintained network performance and response.
- Smaller institutions with fewer than 1,000 students can also face network challenges, with each individual potentially seeking performance on up to four devices.
Wireless networking is a campus need with impact upon faculty and student work output, recruitment and retention, and data security. And while many campus executives seek a cost-efficient solution to keep costs manageable for students, the most affordable options may not be the best fitting or performing options for each individual campus.
Some schools like Oakland University have tried multiple network options in a short period of time to find the right solution, and procurement issues can present challenges for public institutions. But one best practice for college leaders is to assess the usage data of the campus, to engage peer institutions for best practices, and to be prepared to ask vendors detailed questions about deliverables and upgrade needs, in advance of an installation.