Ball State University in Muncie, Ind., is the nation's "Most Unwired Campus," according to Intel Corporation's second annual survey on wireless Internet access at U.S. colleges and universities.
Last year many campuses reported limited wireless network capabilities. This year's survey, conducted with the Center for Digital Education, reveals that students are more likely to be enjoying campus life unwired. Seventy-four percent of this year's top 50 schools have 100 percent wireless network coverage on campus, up from 14 percent of the top 50 in 2004. According to the survey, the top 50 most unwired campuses are, on average, 98 percent covered by a wireless network, up from 64 percent last year.
Rounding out the top 10 campuses for the greatest wireless Internet accessibility are Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo, Mich. (No. 2); University of Akron, Akron, Ohio (No. 3); Dartmouth College, Hanover, N.H. (No. 4); Carnegie Mellon, Pittsburgh (No. 5); Bridgewater State College, Bridgewater, Mass. (No. 6); St. John's University, New York (No. 7); Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland (No. 8); Bryant University, Smithfield, R.I. (No. 9); and Trinity University, San Antonio (No. 10).
Unwired Campus Trends
Researcher Bert Sperling of Sperling's Best Places conducted the Unwired Campus survey. When comparing the survey findings year over year, Sperling found significant progress and innovation in wireless network deployments on campuses large and small, at state universities and private schools, at technical institutions and liberal arts colleges. Last year, according to Sperling, there were frequent instances of campuses with no wireless network deployment, while this year he reports that nearly every school examined has a wireless infrastructure. The survey found wireless technology being used in a variety of ways to enhance life inside and outside the classroom:
* Professors at Coppin State University ( Baltimore) and Winona State ( Winona, Minn.) use wirelessly-enabled tablet PCs to transmit data to LCD projectors from anywhere they roam in the classroom.
* Broadcast across campus wireless networks, sporting events can be viewed anywhere on campus with a wirelessly-enabled laptop PC at Ball State, Purdue (West Lafayette, Ind.) and Western Michigan University.
* At Carnegie Mellon and Dartmouth, students can use wirelessly-enabled laptop PCs to check the status of their laundry loads and washing machine availability.
* Professors are conducting virtual office hours and administering exams online.
* University operations are being streamlined through wireless Internet access, as schools equip campus security staff, housing services staff and facility managers with wirelessly-enabled laptops to complete paperwork and submit work orders instantly from the field.
About the Survey
Survey findings are based on the percentage of each campus that is covered by wireless technology, the number of undergraduate students and the computer-to-student ratio for each school. The study examined schools with more than 1,000 students. Data was gathered from university interviews, public documents and additional industry sources; the "America's Most Connected Campuses" ranking conducted by Princeton Review and published in Forbes; and an online survey that schools completed between May 1 and Sept. 1, 2005, which was executed by the Center for Digital Education and Intel Corporation.