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ResNet Bandwidth Sees Explosive Growth

A new study from ACUTA and ACUHO-I has found that "robust" WiFi on college and university campuses has nearly doubled in the last few years and that now nearly two-thirds of campuses are dedicating at least 1 Gbps to their residential networks, as access to quality WiFi has become another important factor in attracting and retaining students.

The fifth-annual State of ResNet Report — from the Association for College and University Technology Advancement (ACUTA) and the Association of Colleges and University Housing Officers-International (ACUHO-I) — indicated that some 83 percent of campuses now offer "near-ubiquitous" wireless access across their campuses, compared with 45 percent in 2013. (“Near-ubiquitous” is defined as campus coverage of 81 percent to 100 percent.)

But the more dramatic growth is in the ResNets. A massive 64.8 percent of campuses participating in this year’s study reported that they allocate 1 Gbps or more to their ResNets, and, further, more than one-fifth (21 percent) offer 7 Gbps or more. In 2013, just 22.3 percent of campuses offered 1 Gbps or more. And even as recently as 2015, a bare majority (51.5 percent) were in the gigabit ResNet club.

That growth isn’t accidental. According to the report, nearly three-quarters (73 percent) of business officers reported that robust residential networks were “very important in attracting and retaining on-campus students.”

Other findings from the report included:

  • Only 6 percent of campuses now dedicate less than 100 Mbps to their ResNet, compared with 11.6 percent in 2013 and 23.9 percent in 2012.
  • Similarly, only 15.9 percent of campuses dedicate 100 Mbps to 500 Mbps to their ResNet — roughly half of 2013’s figure.
  • The remainder, 13.2 percent, offer 501 to 999 Mbps, a figure that has remained fairly stable through the years of the study.
  • 44 percent of institutions are outsourcing or considering outsourcing all or part of their ResNet this year, double the percentage from 2013.

Though costs of WiFi are expected to increase, the percentage of campuses that are increasing their budgets to match has declined somewhat. Sixty-two percent of respondents in the study said they anticipated wireless costs increasing in the next two years, but only 47 percent reported an increase in funding for ResNet services in 2016, down seven points from last year.

The 2016 State of ResNet Report is being released in conjunction with the 2016 ACUTA Annual Conference and Exhibition, taking place April 24–27 in San Diego, CA. The full report can be downloaded from ACUTA's site.

About the Author

David Nagel is editorial director of 1105 Media's Education Technology Group and editor-in-chief of THE Journal and STEAM Universe. A 29-year publishing veteran, Nagel has led or contributed to dozens of technology, art and business publications.

He can be reached at [email protected]. You can also connect with him on LinkedIn at or follow him on Twitter at @THEDavidNagel (K-12) or @CampusTechDave (higher education).

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