SOURCE: ACUTA; NACUBO; ACUHO-I

ACUTA; NACUBO; ACUHO-I

April 20, 2015 09:00 ET

2015 Annual ResNet Study Reveals Jumps in Funding, Bandwidth and Outsourcing as Universities Race to Meet Students' Wi-Fi and ResNet Needs

Findings Show Deepening Tension Between Desire to Serve Students and Reality of Demand Outpacing Network Resources in Higher Ed

ATLANTA, GA--(Marketwired - Apr 20, 2015) - With competition increasing to attract and retain students, colleges and universities face a deepening tension between their desire to serve students' increasing Wi-Fi and residential networks (ResNet) needs while balancing the pace and costs of bandwidth growth, according to the released today at the 44th Annual ACUTA Conference & Exhibition. As schools invest in technological upgrades, reporting significant jumps in funding, bandwidth and outsourcing, they are also increasingly on the lookout for ways to improve the value and performance of their ResNet to meet student demand.

A total of 550 respondents completed the 2015 survey -- the largest number since the study's inception. Published by The Association for College and University Technology Advancement (ACUTA), the National Association of College and University Business Officers (NACUBO), and the Association of College and University Housing Officers- International (ACUHO-I), the report is the fourth installment of a five-year study to measure the pulse of ResNet practices and policies in higher education.

Key insights from the 2015 ACUTA/NACUBO/ACUHO-I State of ResNet Report include:

  • Bandwidth and Wi-Fi -- Reaching New Heights: For the first time, more than half of the schools surveyed (51.5 percent) dedicate at least 1 Gb to ResNet. This is double the number from 2012, when only 25.5 percent of schools did so.

  • More Bandwidth-Management Practices than Ever: Despite robust funding increases, the use of more bandwidth-dependent devices continues to challenge universities. The result: All bandwidth-management practices are on the rise. The most popular methods are limited by protocol and blocking activities such as p2p sharing and music downloading. Fifty-five percent of institutions that provide their own bandwidth also limit and/or shape bandwidth, compared with 21 percent who have outsourced their ResNet.

  • Desktops and Laptops Now #1 Bandwidth Consumers: Desktops and laptops have taken over the top spot from tablets as the largest consumers of bandwidth as students look to a bigger canvas for more complex applications such as 3D modeling and inverted classrooms.

  • Round-the-Clock Support is Rare: Less than 15 percent of schools provide 24/7 support. However, 68 percent of schools that have outsourced their ResNet have 24/7 support compared with 9 percent of schools with in-house networks.

  • Outsourcing Nearly Doubles: With the increased volume of traffic and devices, as well as the need for support, schools are looking outside their walls to provide the high level of service students expect. The number of schools outsourcing or considering outsourcing continues to grow and has nearly doubled from 22 percent in 2013 to 38 percent in 2015.

  • Funding Grows Year to Year: More institutions saw an increase in ResNet funding, jumping from 38 percent in 2014 to 54 percent in 2015. 

  • Security Lacks Strong Presence: While security remains a top priority for Business Officers, there is no Information Security or Internal Audits (ISO) team in place at three out of four schools responding to the survey.

"Schools have seen the competitive advantage that comes from the expansion and growth of ResNet bandwidth and Wi-Fi access on their campuses, but with this growth comes an even wider set of challenges. Schools must continue to examine new ways to enhance network performance and limit risk while stretching value," said Dee Childs, chair of the ACUTA Environmental Scanning Committee and Chief Information Officer at the University of Alabama-Huntsville.

According to John Walda, NACUBO President and Chief Executive Officer, "ResNet has moved beyond an IT issue. Officers from all parts of the campus are now joining forces to explore new avenues to reduce complexity, time and cost limitations to better support student outcomes and educational mission."

The full report, available free at www.acuta.org, provides further trends and insights into higher-education's ResNet structures, present and future network infrastructure issues, and staffing service and support.

About the 2015 State of ResNet Report
Three leading professional organizations (ACUTA, NACUBO and ACUHO-I) representing college and university Business, IT and Housing Officers have joined forces to conduct the fourth annual study of ResNet practices. ResNets provide wired/Wi-Fi internet, cable TV services and more to students living in residence halls. The survey was conducted from December 2014 through January 2015. A combined total of 550 respondents representing 465 unique colleges and universities -- the largest number since the report's inception -- completed the survey, compared to 412 in 2014 and 251 in 2013. Of the 550 total responses, 204 respondents indicated their primary job was related to Business and 99 to Housing, while 247 respondents were from IT.

About ACUTA
ACUTA is an international nonprofit educational association serving colleges and universities. Its core purpose is to advance the capabilities of higher-education communications and collaboration technology leaders. ACUTA represents nearly 2,000 individuals at more than 700 institutions of higher education, with members ranging from small schools and community colleges to the very largest U.S. institutions. ACUTA's corporate affiliate members represent all categories of communications technology vendors serving the college/university market. www.acuta.org.

About NACUBO
NACUBO, founded in 1962, is a nonprofit professional organization representing chief administrative and financial officers at more than 2,100 colleges and universities. NACUBO's mission is to advance the economic vitality, business practices and support for higher education institutions in fulfillment of their missions. www.nacubo.org

About ACUHO-I
The Association of College and University Housing Officers - International (ACUHO-I) has more than 990 member institutions located around the world, all committed to creating positive residential experiences for their students. We support and promote these members in the pursuit of their goals through education, avocation, and invaluable network connections. www.acuho-i.org  

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