Saturday, September 22, 2012

BYOD on the Campus – Stats, Issues, & Concerns

Seems all enterprises keep worrying about the BYOD. Most articles and news on BYOD are all around how BYOD is becoming a major issue in enterprises. But everyone seems forgetting the impact of it on the Universities. From the data I was able to collect from many articles and surveys, seems there will be a bigger BYOD revolution soon in the campus – at least the numbers seem to justify it.
At the start of the semester, students now get more than books, clothes and furniture, a slew of bandwidth hungry devices to campus. Times have really changed. Almost every kind of device that exists in the world finds a way into the campus unlike in enterprises where you see pretty much standard devices.
A survey (conducted by Houston-based J Turner Research in partnership with Philadelphia-based Campus Apartments and Memphis, Tenn.-based Education Realty Trust (ERT) - which talked to more than 10,000 students across 130 campuses.) suggests that about 41% of students will have three or more devices connected to the Internet at one time. 76.4% of institutions surveyed are looking to reinforce their networks to support multiple devices. This is another interesting fact, a whopping 64 percent of students at U.S. colleges and universities say they would consider relocating to new housing if their campus apartment’s Internet speeds were slower than expected. The same survey shows that there is an increasing appetite for Wi-Fi connectivity and a willingness to pay rent premiums for higher bandwidth speeds
Says ERT VP of IT, Scott Casey, “They are leaving home with a laptop, a 60-inch flat panel TV, an iPad, an iPhone, an Xbox, and a PlayStation 3, They want to plug all of that in and be on the Internet blogging and Facebooking, and they expect the same bandwidth experience they have at home”.  “Everything is on the Internet,” Casey says. “And most importantly, they are communicating about their bandwidth experience at the same time via Facebook: 'Come live here because the Internet is great.' Or, 'Don’t live here because the Internet is awful.'”

Some interesting stats which I could pull out - 76% of Colleges Struggle to Meet Bandwidth Demands. 77% of the college reported that the increasing no of mobile devices & other BYODs has had a significant impact on their network. 1/3rd of schools provide more than 500 mbps and still they say that network chokes and clogs are the in thing. 90% of responding colleges said they expect tablets to consume the most bandwidth in the coming year. 50% of IT departments pay for bandwidth supplied for residential networks, but they do not recover the cost. The majority of colleges(75.9%) dedicate about 20%  of their annual  IT budget to residential computer networking.

As college-aged students rely on an expanded arsenal of web-connected gadgets, schools face an unprecedented growth of network bandwidth consumption. Campuses are struggling to provide enough bandwidth to satisfy all student bandwidth needs. Every year, students bring more and more mobile devices with them to campus. As these devices devour bandwidth, colleges and universities struggle to keep up.
If these are stats with the devices and bandwidth, the proliferation of every type of bandwidth hungry applications are creating similar issues. Some to name are Netflix (which is a huge user of bandwidth), YouTube (another huge bandwidth hog), online television and social networking.

This is a huge BYOD/Bandwidth issue problem for the universities. At one end no amount of bandwidth is enough to sate the appetite of these devices and the apps that run on them. Secondly BYODs create a huge security hole and the CIO is desperate to know what kind of devices and application that runs on the network. Another major issue is lack of data on what device and what apps are running on the network and which ones are security risks and to what level.

If bandwidth consumption and BYOD management are becoming a major issue to Campus, security is becoming another major issue. One of the survey says that the CIOs of universities want to have the intelligence first on what is happening on the bandwidth, who is using what, what apps and kinds of apps are consuming the most and what kind of devices are running on the network and where is the traffic going. Once the analytics are out, Universities like to make smart decisions to how to curb bandwidth usage or manage better and get a better ROI on their bandwidth investments. One of the CIO’s statements captures all – “there are slew of solutions but I don’t want to patch the wound without knowing where the wounds are. I need to know first and then apply the solutions accordingly”.

Manjunath M Gowda
Author is the CEO of i7 Networks which works on next generation analytics and intelligence related to bandwidth, security and BYOD.

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