Remember your first Internet search?

When I was in college several years (OK fine, decades) ago, the Internet was brand new. I can remember sitting in a campus computer lab with my classmates (this was long before laptops and iPads), listening to a professor walk us through step-by-step instructions on how to do a web search. “Move your mouse to the bar at the top…this is called the search bar…type your search term…click on the little magnifying glass…” I’m talking bare-bone basics here; stuff a four-year-old knows how to do today.

Fast forward a couple decades, and we’ve moved beyond computer labs, through desktop PCs and iPads, and onto high-speed streaming devices and wearable wireless devices. Nowadays the average college student arrives on campus with 3-5 wireless devices, from smartphones to laptops to gaming consoles.

Many professors now require assignments and exams to be submitted online. Heck, even my son’s eighth-grade teachers give assignments that can only be completed online.

Girl on laptop in grassCollege and university administrators know that reliable, widespread wireless access is paramount in attracting students to their campuses. In fact, one survey found that 98% of college and university business officers believe that superior WiFi connectivity is mission-critical for the institution. Something that didn’t even exist on college campuses 25 years ago is now mission-critical. I don’t know about you, but that statistic boggles this old writer’s mind.

The challenge in all of this is how to get that mission-critical WiFi connectivity to extend throughout the campus. Dorm rooms and classrooms are pretty easy; they’re usually located within 100 meters of the nearest telecom closet.

But what about dining halls and large auditoriums? And how about outdoor spaces like walking trails and courtyards? This article in Campus Technology, reports that 25% of campuses now provide wireless coverage in common areas, a 4% increase from just one year prior.

Getting data connectivity and power to these locations is a challenge. You could build additional telecom rooms to install a switch every 100 meters, but that’s cost-prohibitive. Berk-Tek’s uLAN Extender Series offers another way, with both economical and feature-rich solutions for extending data and power to your remote device. Check them out here.