How universities can meet students’ internet connectivity needs
There’s no getting around the fact that internet connectivity is a major player in almost every aspect of campus life. In addition to doing research and accessing learning material online, students today use the internet for their entertainment, social, and living needs. And they do so on a range of devices — desktop computers, laptops, tablets, smartphones, wearables, gaming consoles, and smart speakers.
This means that tertiary education institutions should offer wireless internet or fibre internet to their students that are able to meet every demand of their connected lives.
And, times have changed. High quality internet access is no longer considered a luxury. As such,
institutions can no longer afford to deliver the bare bones of internet connectivity if they want to attract prospective students.
In this article, we’ll unpack what students expect in terms of campus connectivity and provide strategies for universities and colleges to keep student satisfaction high when providing internet access.
Some educational institutions set a cap on the amount of data each student uses per month. Others
don’t enforce monthly internet quotas provided that students use the internet responsibly and in moderation. Whether capped or uncapped — students should never have to pay extra for internet as it is always a “freebie”included in the student’s tuition costs.
A popular option for universities and colleges is to also offer free guest wireless internet, which allows visitors to access the internet network while on campus.
Although the availability of free internet can boost a university’s standing among current and future students, this perk may backfire if it reduces the connectivity experience.
There are lots of activities students will be engaging in on the university’s network. Keep in mind that thousands of students will be browsing the internet (doing research, checking their email), accessing applications, steaming content, and uploading and downloading files – all at the same time. The expectation of students is that they can perform these activities without being slowed down.
Depending on the package, wireless and fibre internet can reach speeds of up to 100Mbps and 200Mbps respectively. These high-speed connections mean that even though thousands of devices are using the internet at the same time, there is a lesser chance that the connection will cut out — something that students working toward tight deadlines will certainly appreciate.
Wherever students go on campus or around university-owned residences, a stable, reliable internet connectivity should follow. When designing a wireless network, be sure that coverage extends to every corner of campus. Between 80 and 100 percent of academic and residential buildings should be covered.
In academic/on-campus buildings, these include:
In residential/off-campus buildings, these include:
Residential rooms, dormitories, and apartments.
Many students are used to having reliable, high-speed internet at home. This convenience of connecting is a strong requirement that is increasingly expected on campus. If deployed correctly, universities and colleges may have the advantage of not only pleasing their current students but establishing themselves as an attractive option for hyper-connected prospective students.