Universities struggle to meet students’ increased expectations for bandwidth

By August 29, 2012
student sitting in the grass with laptop and smartphone

College students own an increasing number of connected devices, and have high expectations concerning Internet speed and coverage across campus. A trend that is affecting university networks.


Students are among the most connected segments of the population, and now bring multiple mobile devices to their college university campus: 41% own 3 or more connected devices such as smartphones, laptops, game consoles and tablets. They actually use those strong bandwidth consumers everywhere – in classrooms, libraries and housing alike. As a result, their expectations concerning wireless coverage and bandwidth are rising: 64% of college students “would consider relocating to new housing if their apartment’s Internet speeds were slower than expected” according to recent Infographics from Online Colleges. Universities are having a hard time trying to keep up with this trend and meeting students’ new standards.

Too many devices impacts university networks

Wireless coverage and bandwidth differ from one college to the other. The majority (30.7%) of universities offer 100 to 500 Mbps on campus, 28.9% offer 1 to 100 Mbps, 18.5% can provide 500Mbps to 1Gbps and only 7% have a bandwidth higher that 2Gbps. In this context, 77% of colleges said that the increasing number of mobile devices being used on university campuses has already had an impact on their networks, and 73% consider the rising students expectations concerning wireless coverage “a significant issue.”

Different solutions being tested

If they can’t increase coverage and bandwidth, universities find alternative solutions to limit bandwidth consumption. 27% of schools “cap the number of devices a student can connect with to the network at five or fewer” and 19% limit bandwidth to certain devices only – mobile and network devices.  However, the increased number of connected devices isn’t the only factor impacting university networks. Colleges also mention a lack of staff time and resources (61.3%), of capital funding for network infrastructure (60.2%), funding network support and help desk (39.9%) and IP address space management (26.1%). 

Legal mentions © L’Atelier BNP Paribas