When I arrived on campus at the start of my freshman year, I was the proud owner of state-of-the-art “technology,” a Coronamatic electric typewriter. In September 2018—just a few years later—my daughter moved into her new dorm room. In place of a suitcase-sized typewriter, she brought a cell phone, laptop, smart watch, smart speaker, and printer.
Sharing space with my daughter in her dorm are about 300 other digital natives, each toting their own devices (I even noticed a few smart TVs and gaming systems on move-in day), and each expecting wireless network connectivity that’s as reliable as the flip of a light switch or twist of a faucet handle. They’re quick to on-board—and quick to report a problem when it happens, even if a network slowdown is interrupting Fortnite or Halloweentown rather than a chemistry assignment.
“Students want things right away; they want 24-hour access;
and they want it everywhere on campus.”
Jim Jorstad, director of client services,
University of Wisconsin-La Crosse
(from the Center for Digital Education Report,
The Connected Campus Has Arrived)
Connecting 70 million devices
The Cisco Visual Networking Index: Forecast and Methodology, 2016–2021 estimates that the number of connected devices will be three times as high as the global population by 2021. That equates to 3.5 devices per person (though other sources estimate that this number could get as high as 6.58 devices each). My daughter is just one of the 19.9 million students the U.S. Department of Education projected would be on U.S. colleges campuses at the start of the 2018-2019 academic year. Using Cisco’s conservative estimate, that’s nearly 70 million devices on U.S. campuses alone!
How’s a network to keep up?
On a secure, intuitive campus, a high-density network—including all those invisible wireless connections—is what keeps everything running. And though the campus itself hasn’t changed too much from when I was a freshman, the underlying technology that powers it has fundamentally shifted.
Check out this campus map to explore the technology that invisibly keeps a modern connected campus running. Here are a few highlights:
- In the dorm, critical wireless access means performance and bandwidth for applications, technologies, and services like online tutoring that allow students to keep learning even after class time has ended.
- In lecture halls and classrooms, wireless enables technology for collaboration and engagement—with students and educators on site or with guest lecturers and others virtually—in addition to supporting all those student-owned devices.
- In campus offices and cafes, wireless allows educators to access learning management systems and other tools, and to continue to connect with students outside classroom walls.
- And, from one end of campus to the other, university administrators rely on the wireless network to communicate with everyone, sharing news about upcoming events or sending notifications in the case of an emergency.
In all instances, ubiquitous wireless coverage means a seamless, secure user experience—from dorm to dining hall, faculty office to classroom—at any time and on any (and every) device.