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Take a Note: Students Say They NEED Reliable Wi-Fi

7signal recently surveyed over 200 full-time college students to ask them their attitudes about technology, specifically the Wi-Fi on campus. Some fascinating statistic were compiled, which we will review here. We set out to learn how important Wi-Fi was to student success and we were quite shocked by the stats once the results started rolling in.

Students need reliable Wi-Fi

Most Popular Devices

When I went to school, the most popular guy on the floor was the one with a desktop computer. For a case of Mountain Dew, he would let me use his computer to type up and print papers and this allowed me to avoid having to go to the dreaded, zoo-like campus computer lab. Wi-Fi wasn't even available yet. My, how times have changed.

With mobility representing a cultural shift in our society, the use of desktop computers has rapidly declined. When we asked college students about the devices they use the most -- smartphone, laptop computer and tablet all beat out the antiquated desktop computer. Yes, it's perhaps time to throw the dirt on it because it's pretty much dead.

Time Spent Online

We were curious to know how much time students spend online because this directly impacts the capacity and capabilities of the Wi-Fi network. 40% of students indicated they spend between 4 and 8 hours a day online and nearly 30% said they spend 8 to 12 hours online. That adds up to a lot of air time! Assuming that students sleep between 11PM and 7AM, we're talking about cramming all that usage into just 16 waking hours. Also of note: 4% of respondents indicated they are online more than 16 hours a day. Sleep is apparently optional for these people. Nice.

Most Important Factors When Connecting

With all the time spend online, we wanted to know what students felt was important about the experience. Download speed and ubiquitous coverage tied for most important. Was their ever a doubt? Perhaps a wasted question, but you never know. Interestingly, security was third and upload speed fourth, which I find somewhat peculiar because I thought the ability to quickly upload photos and videos was extremely important. Maybe it is, but download speed and coverage are table steaks I suppose.

What Students Do Online

We kept it clean and offered some nice categories for students to choose from. I am happy to report that research/homework was the number one answer, followed closely by video streaming and social media. WLAN professionals need to keep an eye on the rapid growth of video streaming because, as you know, it's a bandwidth hog and can bring any Wi-Fi network to its knees. It's not just YouTube. It's Hulu, Netflix and Amazon Prime as well. Students don't need a television anymore. All they need is your Wi-Fi. Advice: plan now for exponential growth in video usage. It's just going to get bigger and bigger.

Students Need Wi-Fi to Succeed

Next, we asked how important reliable, high performance Wi-Fi was to their success as a student. Just being honest here…we were hoping for a big number because this validates the need for a Wi-Fi performance management system. Needless to say, we were pleasantly surprised by the data. 48% said they could not be successful without it, while another 48% said that it was important. Wow. That's 96%. If there was ever a doubt about the mission critical nature of campus Wi-Fi…well, there you have it.

In the very next question we asked how often students complain (to themselves or to someone else) about the Wi-Fi on campus and 15% responded with, "All the time." 22% said quite often and 41% indicated that sometimes they complain about the quality of Wi-Fi.

What Students Do Next...

This next question was perhaps the most interesting and important of them all. As you can see from the above statistics, 78% said they complain about the Wi-Fi on campus. However, only 18% indicated that they report it to the campus IT Help Desk. 71% of students survey admitted that they just struggle through the issue. This is critical information because how are WLAN professionals supposed to know what's going on without feedback from the student body? There are many IT folks who don't believe there's a problem, and why should they when only 1 out of every 5 students having a problem actually reports it!

Like I just mentioned a moment ago, this is perhaps the most important piece of data gathered by the survey because it ties it all together. To recap:

96% say reliable Wi-Fi is important to their success as a student.
78% say they sometimes, frequently or always complain about the poor Wi-Fi quality.
71% just struggle through the issues.
Only 18% say they actually report the issue.

You can get the infographic by clicking here. We hope these findings are useful to you and that they've opened your mind to the need for a Wi-Fi performance management system that continually and proactively monitors and measures your Wi-Fi from the student's perspective. Click below if you would like to schedule a demonstration of how our solution can help you.

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