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Study on College Network Challenges

March 20, 2017

Internet speeds at colleges have nearly tripled since 2012 as IT departments have fought to keep up with students bringing new internet-connected devices to campus, streaming music and video, and gaming online, a new study found. ACUTA (the Association for College and University Technology Advancement) and the Association of College and University Housing Officers International surveyed administrators at 320 colleges and universities in the U.S. for the 2017 State of ResNet Report, which is now in its seventh year. Major findings include:

  • About two-thirds of business officers (68 percent) said they are concerned about budgeting for the costs of offering wireless internet. About 60 percent of them said they expect costs will grow over the next two years; 30 percent believe costs will grow by more than 10 percent.
  • Only 14.3 percent of colleges offer around-the-clock help-desk services for technical issues, but the share is growing steadily. In 2012, just 9 percent did.
  • Colleges are focusing on offering solid Wi-Fi coverage in administrative offices, classrooms and dorms and are less worried about the qualify of Wi-Fi coverage outdoors. Only 11.9 percent of respondents described Wi-Fi coverage in outside areas as "robust."
  • Netflix and other video-streaming services are the largest bandwidth hogs on campus, 87.7 percent of respondents said, followed by rich web content (78.2 percent), music streaming (61.3 percent) and gaming (51.7 percent).
  • Desktop and laptop computers consume the most bandwidth (according to 62.3 percent of respondents), but smartphones (61.8 percent), tablets (54.2 percent) and video-streaming devices (50 percent) are not far behind.

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Carl Straumsheim

Carl Straumsheim, Technology Correspondent, joined Inside Higher Ed in 2013. He got his start in journalism as a video game blogger for Norway's third largest paper, Dagbladet, at age 15, and has since dabbled in media criticism, investigative reporting and political coverage. Straumsheim (pronounced STROMS-hyme) boasts that he once received a perfect score on the Test of English as a Foreign Language, which enabled him to pursue a bachelor's degree in English from LaGrange College and a master's degree in journalism from the University of Maryland at College Park.

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