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“Ask The Experts” is written and provided by Scholarship Media. It does not reflect the views of The Collegian or its advertisers.
My dorm room does not get wifi and wireless routers are not allowed. Why can’t I get wifi?
Internet access is an integral part of attending college and vital to your studies, so this question is echoed in many dorm rooms. Most of your studies and research will be done online so it is imperative that you have wifi access everywhere on campus. While colleges recognize this, they have different approaches to getting everyone connected.
College attendance is usually driven by academics or prestige, but a survey revealed that 38% of students said that campus wifi would be the deciding factor for them. A further 30% said that they would recommend a college solely on the accessibility and speed of its wifi. Around 90% of students agree that reliable, high quality wifi is essential to their academic success.
It is clear that wifi matters to students a lot. This is no surprise considering the mass adoption of mobile wireless devices that are designed to be permanently connected. Colleges need to take this into consideration when designing managed mobility services. Students are intolerant of connectivity black spots or low signals in housing blocks.
While wifi access makes student life and studying more convenient, many colleges are providing Ethernet ports in rooms and wifi only in communal areas. This is no help for students using smartphones or tablets who have to pay extra for mobile data services.
College IT departments often refuse to allow wifi routers in dorms for security reasons as they are relatively easy to hack. Most common home and office routers can be hacked within a couple of hours if they are not configured correctly. By accessing the router, hackers could also access other devices connected to it. Personal or financial information is at risk for everyone connected to the compromised router. Universities are now holding students accountable if they install their own routers that get hacked. For this reason, many schools have banned personal wifi routers in dorm rooms.
Campus IT departments are facing increasing pressures to keep internet connectivity available at all times. Problems can arise when a large user base is trying to connect at the same time, available bandwidth may not be sufficient. Not just the user base but the number of physical devices trying to access the internet can quickly overwhelm the system, report DevOps software developers. Besides students, Internet of Things (IoT) chews bandwidth as devices such as security cameras, heating systems, lighting and building controls all need to be permanently connected.
Network security is another huge challenge for colleges, since campuses are prime areas for hackers and cyber criminals. Guest connections and unauthorized devices can also cause problems on an unsecured college network.
As demand for wireless internet keeps rising, colleges, students and faculty need to keep this a top priority.
“A smartphone is a mobile computer in your pocket,” Nick Woodman.