Working group takes on challenges of WiFi growth on campus — from by Dian Schaffhauser

A new working group dominated by IT representatives from higher education is tackling the problems and solutions of running WiFi networks that need to support a dramatic proliferation of wireless devices on campus and in business. A major goal of the Multimedia-Grade Working Group is to encourage vendors to design and deploy “multimedia-grade” devices and equipment.

“The demand being placed on WiFi networks is increasing at a blistering pace,” said David Morton, director of mobile communications at the University of Washington, one participating institution. “Handheld devices like the iPhone and iPad now account for nearly a third of all devices that are using WiFi on campus. At the same time we are seeing a mobile app explosion that has transformed how people use the network. Gone are the days when a typical user might occasionally check e-mail on a laptop. Users now do everything from streaming media to video chat to placing phone calls while mobile and expect all of that to work no matter where they are.”