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13 Jun

How Much Capacity do Universities Really Need?

When I started college in 2007, I used hardwired Internet access. I didn’t have a smart phone. My phone was a black razor flip phone that played Justin Timberlake’s “I’m Bringin Sexy Back,” whenever someone called me – no data plan, no email, no apps. If surfing the web on my laptop was slow or in and out I blamed the physical wire. On a few occasions I even walked to the campus bookstore to purchase a new one.

When I think about universities now I can’t believe the amount of network capacity they must need. What is the difference between August 1 and September 1 in terms of network traffic? Think about it – students, all in one place, texting, calling, sharing video, ‘facebooking,’ ‘instagramming,’ tweeting – a spike in network utilization is an extreme understatement.

A few weeks ago, while attending Cisco Live, I met a number of network admins and engineers associated with universities large and small across the country. And they all said the same thing. Students now attend classes with two sometimes three devices on the network. I immediately responded, “How do you plan for that capacity?” Most people didn’t respond, and just looked at me with a half smile.

And then Monday while scouring Twitter to catch up on the Gartner IOM show this week, I saw this tweet:

Twitter Post - 10 IP Addresses

Is it time to reevaluate just how many devices we’re carrying at any given time? Three sounds so 2011.

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