By Sarah Meyer, Director of Product Marketing, Ipswitch WhatsUpGold
Universities and colleges are besieged by a growing number of wireless devices and increased demands on the capacity of the network. Resellers need to serve as partners as these universities struggle to find the right balance for providing service and containing costs.
In the summer of 2013, the EDUCAUSE IT Issues Panel found that leveraging the wireless and device explosion on campus was the top issue academic IT departments are facing. Additionally, the key priorities include the imperative to “contain and reduce costs and meet the student and faculty expectations of contemporary consumer technologies and communication standards.”
This pressure is exacerbated by the increase in the number of wireless devices students bring and the dramatic growth of bandwidth-hungry video streaming. Streaming accounted for half of the wireless traffic in 2013, and analysts predict that two-thirds of the traffic on the Internet will be from streaming by 2018. Streaming is even more pronounced at colleges and universities with e-learning, video security, and rampant student consumption of Netflix or YouTube videos. The BYOD (bring your own device) trend also exacerbates the problem with more connections at various points throughout the network.
Managing Network Growth On Campus
Clearly, investment in a robust network management model is critical. Resellers should partner with universities to assess the individual needs and make recommendations to manage the growing challenges. Some basic areas for investment include:
Without tools to quickly and correctly analyze the root causes of performance problems, most universities implement a much more costly route for capacity management. They simply buy more and more access points without ever looking at efficient models for the long-term quality of service they desire. In some cases, upgrading switches, adding access points or even redesigning infrastructure can address the symptoms of performance issues without solving the underlying problem.
As a reseller, you want to offer insight to your customers that leads to long-term solutions, happy university administrators and decreased student and facility complaints. Universities, and by extension their resellers, should be actively monitoring:
Active engagement in the ongoing monitoring of the network is essential for the modern university campus. Done right, the process gives users of the network the level of connectivity and flexibility that they have come to expect on a university campus.
The importance of wireless connectivity should be reflected in IT plans, policies and budgets – and the best university resellers offer customers the necessary guidance on the tools to optimize the network for today and tomorrow's campus needs.
At Ipswitch, Sarah Meyer leads product marketing for network and IT operations management products, including WhatsUpGold. With 25+ years' experience in the technology industry, Meyer has previously held senior product marketing, product management and other roles at a series of software companies including Attivio, CA, Nexaweb, Beachfire, Curl Corp, and Lotus. She founded Wypark Consulting, where she has advised numerous companies on market strategy, positioning, and go-to-market planning. She began her career in academia as the Director of User Services at Smith College.