Tips for Colleges and Universities to Optimize Their Wi-Fi

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Wi-Fi connected devices such as laptops, tablets, smartphones, and gaming consoles are not the only smart devices you can typically find across campus in the era of the Internet of Things (IoT). From thermostats to smart locks to security cameras pretty much everything is connected to the Wi-Fi network.

This means that operational efficiency cannot be neglected, otherwise it can cause real chaos as Suffolk University has learned.

Suffolk University in Boston, MA, realized that connected thermostats in its dorms were causing the network to go down. When connected devices are not properly accounted for, these devices can cause downed networks and open systems up to security breaches, putting every device and user at risk.

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In student housing, dorm networks are at peak use between 10pm and 2am. This means it is hard to have IT onsite ready to respond when there are problems.

Today’s hybrid education environment requires a stable, fast, and reliable network across every corner of campus, especially in student housing where students will now spend most of their time when library hours are limited due to health and safety protocols associated with post-Covid.

Diagnosing and troubleshooting issues before they develop into problems is paramount. A Wi-Fi automation platform can help prevent the problems before they even start.

Higher education institutions need Wi-Fi automation platforms, and here is why:

Higher education is at the brink of major change, including the IT department. CIOs and IT leaders in educational institutions play a top role by staying up-to-date in the rapidly changing IoT world, ensuring their Wi-Fi network is secure and automated to respond to any problem at any time.

“Higher education institutions run on Wi-Fi. Every user—including students, professors, visitors, staff—expects the Wi-Fi to be everywhere so that they can research, study, shop, pay tuition, communicate, relax, et cetera,” Roger Sands, CEO and Co-Founder of Wyebot, the Wireless Intelligence Platform (WIP) and leader of AI-driven Wi-Fi automation, said. 

“The network that supports these activities is understandably vast, dynamic, and complex. To keep it optimized in real-time, which is what is required to eliminate downtime and other performance issues, IT teams would need to analyze thousands of data packets every second. This is impossible for humans, but it isn't impossible for Wi-Fi automation platforms,” Sands explains. 

According to Sands, these platforms can monitor and analyze the entire network, every second of every day. They can proactively alert IT to issues so that problems are solved faster, often before end users are affected. They give IT the power to implement long-lasting future optimization while still leaving IT teams time for other critical tasks.

Sands offered actionable tips as to what the IT department in education institutions can do in order to ensure their Wi-Fi is optimized:

  • First, IT needs complete visibility into the RF network. They need to be able to monitor everything that impacts performance, and this includes non-Wi-Fi devices like Bluetooth
  • Second, teams need remote access to the network. If they can troubleshoot and view the network from anywhere, this cuts down on the time and money spent traveling, and allows problems to be solved faster
  • Finally, teams need historical analytics. These analytics give IT the power to travel back in time so that network health is never a mystery. If an issue is reported when teams are not on-call such as dorms at night, historical data will deliver a clear picture of exactly what was going on at the time of the issue. When reviewed overtime, this data also reveals long-term performance and health trends, which are useful for budget and capacity planners.