Meru Networks and featured in the Feb. Partner Roundup.">

Higher Education is not only the largest user of WLAN equipment by revenue, but presents some of the biggest deployment challenges, too. If it's going to hit your wireless network, it's probably already on a college or university network already.  

What's more, with the variety of sites found on campus, there are many Wi-Fi 'micro-climates' to address, including residence halls (dorms), lecture halls, classrooms, stadiums/gymnasiums, libraries, outdoor spaces, student unions and more.

So recently, Meru Networks conducted a survey of over 6,600 Higher Education IT professionals about their WLAN needs and expectations, and some of the results were surprising.

So here’s an interesting one. We know that dorms and classrooms are a challenge. It’s all a challenge for all the reasons we understand. The interesting thing here is how much more prevalent classrooms and residence halls are than the “high density” areas all of the vendors and testers and everyone else are always touting as the “trouble areas”. We think there are a few reasons for this.

 First, schools just didn’t realize just HOW fast and how many devices students were going to bring to their rooms this year. There’s more Wi-Fi in more devices that never had Wi-Fi and that we never would have thought would have had Wi-Fi than ever before. Second, and more importantly, flipped classrooms have turned teaching, and teaching networks, on their heads. Classroom networks, even the advanced ones, had been built with a port or two, assuming that the teacher would present something, that the students would listen and take notes on their laptops, they might e-mail an assignment in, they would connect their laptops to present, etc. etc. No one thought they would be coming in and collaborating, ALL of them streaming DIFFERENT video both up and down to collaborate, and, oh yeah, based on videos and lessons they all watched last night over the same devices, guess where -- residence halls.

By comparison, the other “trouble areas" are easy. You know the number of seats, you can estimate a reasonable number of devices per person, say four, to even oversubscribe, and they are wide open spaces! You need some power for sure, but there is little variability and therefore little anxiety. This is a very interesting dynamic and an area in which Meru's single channel architecture and channel layering can provide much needed relief.

For more information on Meru's survey, click here.