Reliable WiFi access vital to universities

November 20, 2018
Author: Tim Longsway
Blog | Infrastructure
KCTCS College

Public and private universities face mounting pressure to reduce costs while promoting a supportive and secure environment for the exchange of ideas. Increasingly, these institutions compete for students, and campus experience plays a large part in the decision-making process for prospective undergraduates and grad students.

Furthermore, universities have a tremendous responsibility to deliver the services and tools students need for success, while simultaneously benefiting their faculty, staff, administrators, and partners. In our increasingly mobile and connected world, that means quick, easy, and secure access to the university’s WiFi network is imperative.

Meeting today’s university WiFi challenge

For university CIOs and their IT staff, the design and upkeep of campus WiFi networks was once a moderately straightforward undertaking. Today, however, campuses are among the most challenging of all wireless network environments to manage. The expectation of higher education network users is always on, on any device, anywhere on campus, with unparalleled speed and security.

Students demand high-quality, reliable WiFi experiences not only in the classroom but during free time when they’re streaming Spotify, Netflix, or YouTube. More and more, potential and current students – and even business partners – judge the quality of a university by its wireless network, and an underperforming WiFi network can impact the institution’s bottom line.

Designing campus wireless networks for scalability

So, if you’re an IT professional responsible for the performance of your university’s WiFi network, how can you ensure you’re keeping up with or surpassing the competition? Many universities are facing significant investments to upgrade their wireless networks and enhance performance and address security concerns as their networks take on more devices, the Internet of Things (IoT), wearables, and the growth in mobile applications and online assets built to enhance the student learning experience.

These challenges require a holistic design approach, building on current networking assets but allowing for scalability campus-wide, covering classrooms, residence halls, outdoor commons and recreational areas, and administrative offices.

CBTS supports strategic vision for better user experience

Often, universities will bring in an outside partner like CBTS to lead a comprehensive review of the current networking environment. We help them develop a long-term strategy that supports the institution’s strategic vision while addressing issues like device and app overload and security concerns. By creating a wireless technology roadmap, CBTS helps universities focus on providing better student services, from upgrading WiFi in classrooms or residence halls to supporting the demands of power users at the administration and faculty levels, and understanding the concerns of business partners and non-profits contributing to the overall health of the institution.

Our goal is to provide a better user experience continuously across a university’s WiFi network, based on segmentation, optimized for performance and security, managed centrally, and scaling easily as demands on the network increase.

Learn how CBTS partnered with a private university to create a comprehensive plan for upgrading wireless and wired network access in residence halls, setting the stage for campus-wide WiFi connectivity. The WiFi network is designed for growth, while simplifying student log-ins, bringing tighter security that flags unauthorized users, granting temporary access to guests, and reducing overall hardware costs. Lear how CBTS can help support your organization’s networking goals.

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