Meru Networks, a provider of virtualised wireless LAN solutions, has released the results from its recent survey of higher education IT departments.
The respondents completed a set of questions designed to determine their biggest Wi-Fi challenges on-campus relative to BYOD and mobility, and where they stand relative to solving them. Some of the results were surprising, according to Meru, moving well beyond the iPad, iPhone and other tablet and smartphone issues commonly reported.
Despite the 802.11n Wi-Fi standard offering almost 3 x the throughput, 4 x the spatial streams and 2 x the range of the 802.11g standard, 77% of the 230 respondents have not fully migrated to it. While only 23% of respondents have fully deployed 802.11n to support video and voice streaming, which is very difficult with multiple users on 802.11g, only 55% of respondents have campus-wide pervasive Wi-Fi coverage.
Another surprising finding focused on the locations of ‘trouble areas’, or places where IT receives the most calls for lack of connectivity or unacceptable network performance. Just a year ago, these were the lecture halls and libraries where students gathered with their laptops, tablets and smartphones.
The Meru survey revealed that the trouble zones have now moved to the residence halls, mainly due to the significant increase in the number of other Wi-Fi devices such as game consoles, televisions, musical instruments and other Wi-Fi-enabled ‘fixed’ appliances that share the same Wi-Fi space with mobile devices in residence halls.
Some 51% reported residence halls or dormitories as the biggest problem spots, while about 25% each identified lecture halls and libraries.
‘What this survey indicates to us is that students want to enjoy uninterrupted learning – wherever, whenever and using whatever Wi-Fi-enabled device they have,’ said Sarosh Vesuna, vice president and general manager of the education business unit at Meru.
‘We are seeing an expectation gap, where student demands for pervasive coverage and high capacity Wi-Fi is often unmet by traditional WLAN deployments. Meru Education Grade platform for Uninterrupted learning specifically addresses these requirements,’ added Vesuna.