Survey: wireless is hottest thing on campus

Jan. 1, 2009
A recent survey indicates that nearly three out of four colleges and universities plan to expand their wireless networks over the next two years.

A recent survey indicates that nearly three out of four colleges and universities plan to expand their wireless networks over the next two years. That is one of the key findings in the latest member survey by ACUTA (, the Association for Information Communications Technology Professionals in Higher Education, which surveyed members at its 2008 Fall Seminar in Boston.

The survey asked members to identify the most significant change in their cabling and wiring infrastructure over the last several years. Sixty percent said that change was deployment of wireless networks, compared with 13% pointing to installation of fiber-optic cable and another 13% citing rewiring projects for technology upgrades.

Two out of three survey respondents said it was the demand for"connectivity anywhere" that drove their key networking change, while 40% said the evolution of communication styles was a major factor. Meeting growing capacity needs and migration to Voice over IP and Unified Communications were other drivers cited, at 33% and 23%respectively.

The single greatest benefit of their change, said responding ACUTA members, was network access anywhere and anytime (42%); user convenience (23%); network efficiencies (17%); and greater bandwidth (10%).

On the downside, 56% of respondents said the cost of their change was their greatest challenge, while another 21% said locating and installing the many wireless access points needed for coverage was their biggest hurdle.

Asked about the next significant step in their campus networking, 71% said expansion of their wireless network—or installation of one if they haven't done so already—is in their plans. Another 19% pointed to additional rewiring projects as information communications technology evolves. As far as the timeframe for their next big steps, 73% of respondents expect to take those steps within one year.

Finally, asked to identify how their ongoing changes affect both them and their departments, respondents said the highest impact issues are ever-tightening budgets, a greater need for long-range planning, the need to learn new technology skills, the fact that growing campuses mean more responsibility for their departments, and the challenge of finding employees with the right mix of skills.

"The fact that wireless networking is the biggest change for our members and their schools isn't surprising initself," says Jeri Semer, executive director of ACUTA. "But this survey shows the impact that wireless networks, as well as other forms of technology evolution, are having on information communications technology departments."

Semer adds, "While wireless networks do make communications and computing far more convenient on campuses, they do have their challenges in terms of cost and management. The same is true for other advancing technologies as well."

Short runs…

ARLINGTON, VA—The Telecommunications Industry Association ( has updated the 568-C.3 Optical Fiber Cabling Components standard, which specifies cable and component transmission performance requirements for premises optical-fiber cabling. Significant technical changes include: incorporating the performance specifications for 850nm laser-optimized 50/125-µm multimode cables previously found in ASNI/TIA/EIA-568-B.3-1; specifications for indoor-outdoor cable, including minimum bend radius and maximum pulling tensions; and array connector specifications. Copies of the document are available at:

STERLING, VA— As the data center continues to evolve and mature, business-oriented goals are driving the adoption of Ethernet as the single network technology, according to a new Current Analysis Advisory Report, "One Love, One Data Center, One Network." According to the report'sauthor, Steven Schuchart, Current Analysis principal analyst/data center, "For there to be truly agile, cost optimized, and efficient data centers, the network must be transitioned to a single technology. That technology is Ethernet. There is significant opportunity to break the old networking paradigms and advocate one network technology for the data center." In the report, Schuchart looks at why Ethernet is the natural choice for a single network, including its wide deployment, and the willingness of Ethernet's vendors to work together to ensure that the technology is compatible, regardless of brand or origin. For a complimentary copy of the full report, visit:

LITTLE NECK, NY—In February, Leviton ( will open a new 450,000-square-foot distribution center in Lebanon, TN. The fully automated facility will serve as one of the company's two state-of-the-art domestic warehouse and distribution hubs. The Tennessee center will service customers east of the Mississippi River, and feature the company's commercial-grade occupancy sensors, light switches, outlets, and commercial networking devices.

ANAHEIM, CA—To help facilities managers and engineers address power issues, Electrorack ( has designed a downloadable Power Distribution Catalog that highlights a wide selection of Power Distribution Units (PDUs), power consumption monitoring solutions, and mounting methods. Electrorack's PDU options are designed to give facilities managers the ability to closely monitor current draw, and determine where and how to distribute power via a selection of current, voltage, mounting options and plug types. Voltage ranges are 120, 208, 208/3-Phase), and amperage ranges are 15, 20, 30, 50 and 60.

TAMPA, FL—This month, BICSI ( will inaugurate five new board members elected to serve 2-year terms on the board of directors. Members approved: Christine Klauch, RCDD, NTS as secretary; Mel Lesperance, RCDD, as U.S. Southeast Region director; Michael Collins, RCDD, U.S. South-Central Region director (incumbent); Todd Strand, RCDD, NTS, OSP, U.S. Western Region director; Richard Smith, RCDD, NTS, OSP, Canadian Region director (incumbent).

LEXINGTON, KY—ACUTA, the Association for Information Communications Technology Professionals in Higher Education ( has moved its annual conference from summertime to April 19-22 at the Hyatt Regency Atlanta, GA. "Summer is a very busy season for major technology projects on campus, so we were receiving feedback from members that it was difficult for them to get to the annual conference in the summer months," says executive director Jeri Semer. The conference and 13th annual forum will emphasize technology and management education, information sharing, and networking among peers.

BEAVERTON, OR—The International Telecommunication Union's Standardization Sector (ITU-T) has consented the PHY and architecture portions of the ITU-T specification, as part of standardization efforts for next-generation home networking.According to HomeGrid Forum (, the consent demonstrates momentum for as a worldwide standard that will unify the networking of content and devices over any wire—coax cable, phone, and power lines.

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