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Business and Policy Areas
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Going Wireless

October 17, 2006

More than half (51 percent) of college classrooms are now wireless, according to the 2006 annual survey by the Campus Computing Project.  Over just two years, the percentage of colleges with wireless capabilities in their classrooms has grown at a rapid rate—20 percentage points overall between 2004 and 2006. The study credits the reduction in costs and increased performance of wireless technology, desire for mobility from faculty and students, and a preference for notebooks versus desktops as contributors to the increase in wireless capability on campuses.

For the past three years, colleges and universities have reported network and data security as their single most important IT issue (approximately 30 percent indicating so in 2006), despite the fact that attacks on campus networks and virus and spyware infestations are down on college campuses.  However, institutions are becoming concerned about security issues linked to sensitive data not managed by their central IT services.  Eleven percent of institutions indicated such a problem, and approximately 10 percent of institutions reported a security incident linked to a social networking site, such as Facebook or MySpace.

Though many higher education institutions are exploring open source applications, the survey results show very little change in support for open source between 2004 and 2006.  In 2006, 54 percent of participants (52 percent in 2004) agreed that “open source will play an increasingly important role in our campus IT strategy,” but only 28 percent (a slight decrease from 29 percent in 2004) agreed that open source provided a “viable alternative” to administrative and campus applications.

The Campus Computing Project has been surveying institutions on information technology since 1990. The 2006 study, as well as those of prior years, can be purchased on the project’s Web site.