Students arriving on campus today have lived their entire lives as “digital natives.” Smartphones and social media providing information at their fingertips and instant contact with anyone, anywhere—this is the world they’ve always known. These students—and their parents—are often choosing your institution to be their home, not just their school. And they expect a true “home-away-from-home” experience, with constant connectivity in residence halls, classrooms, and across campus.
To make this possible, you’re going to need Wi-Fi—strong, reliable, easily accessible Wi-Fi, anywhere, anytime on any device. If you haven’t made delivering this a priority, you better believe that other institutions have. Across higher education, colleges and universities are engaging in a “lifestyle arms race” to recruit students, and great Wi-Fi is a key weapon in their arsenals. In a survey conducted for the State of RESNET Report 2016, 73 percent of Business and Housing Officers said that they consider “at home” quality network connections important to attract and retain oncampus students.
Keep in mind, this generation of digital natives does not suffer silently. Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat are all wonderful tools for students to vent their frustrations about the state of your network. If your Wi-Fi stinks, you’re going to hear about it. So is your boss, and most likely, the rest of the world.
Unfortunately, Wi-Fi in campus network deployments has a bit of a spotty reputation in some circles. Not to put too fine a point on it, but a lot of money has been spent by a lot of people on a lot of Wi-Fi networks that struggle to provide a good user experience. Most complaints center around two basic issues:
- Performance: If the Wi-Fi isn’t fast and reliable, nothing else matters. Spotty coverage, frequent dropouts, choppy video playback, and downloads that take hours—these are major concerns for students who are making your campus their home.
- Access hassles: Password reset requests, onboarding headless devices, and thousands of students hitting campus and attempting to get online all at once—it all adds up to a huge headache for students and a nightmare for Help Desk IT. That’s not even mentioning the need to secure all those devices and connections.
Your students come to campus expecting that all of their devices will connect easily. They want to get homework done and play videogames with super-fast download speeds. They have no patience to constantly be entering passwords or calling the helpdesk. They expect Wi-Fi that just works. Are you giving it to them?
We have identified 10 common myths about college and university Wi-Fi deployments. Avoid buying into them, and there’s a much better chance that your campus Wi-Fi will work as promised, and your students will choose to come and stay.
Ruckus Wireless will be showcasing its latest technologies and innovations at EduTECH Philippines 2018 on 21-22 February at SMX Convention Centre, Manila at Booth 60. Get your free expo here pass to join them.