Current Issues

Network speed and wireless

Posted on May 8, 2012

I hear the occasional student rant about connectivity and wireless network speed and it is something we continue to address, though a little context might be helpful.  Our wireless networks were built for two devices per student.  Didn’t seem unreasonable.

However, in our device driven world students often arrive at SNHU with a laptop or tablet and sometimes both.  With an iPhone or similar smart phone.  A game console, maybe more than one.  The demand on our network is relentless, though as you might imagine, there are peaks and valleys.  When you can plug in instead of going wireless, that’s always a best bet.

A recent survey of campus commuting sheds a bit of light on the subject and also suggests that SNHU serves its students pretty well.  Note:

19% restrict number of devices a student can connect to their network —- we do not.

27% have bandwidth quotas above which students are charged — we do not.

34% allow unlimited bandwidth utilization for which they do not charge the student – we are in this top 1/3

10% of universities provide 24X7 help desk support – we are in this top 10%

20% have live chat systems for technical questions – we are in this top 20%

This summer we  will further upgrade the network.  We may have to also revisit the policies implied above, though I hesitate to do so.  I think wireless network access has become a basic infrastructure expectation, like roofs on buildings and heat in the winter.  Like roofs and heat, there is a cost and it adds to the university’s operating and capital budgets every year.

We are not perfect, but on the question of how we serve students in this area we are better than many and working to improve.  Let ITS feel a little love.

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