Monday, May 12, 2008

Wi-Fi in Education

Althought 802.11n 2.0 Wi-Fi isn't an official wireless standard, 99 percent of all North American universities will be using it in the year 2013, according to a report released in these days by market-watcher ABI Research. 802.11n, a proposed upgrade to today's wireless networking schemes such as 802.11b and 802.11g, promises far greater speed than its predecessors.

Less than three percent of such universities and colleges are using 802.11n Wi-Fi, but adoption of the wireless technology will grow rapidly during the coming five years, ABI Research predicts. This study examines the differences in environments, buying patterns, and usage patterns.. Wi-Fi usage in lower-level academic environments, like K-12 schools, is also expected to grow significantly during that time period, due largely to a need for enhanced security, which could be provided via wireless video surveillance, and that fact that more and more schools are instituting what ABI calls "anytime-anywhere learning.".

North American universities are clearly leading the charge towards ubiquitous Wi-Fi in academic locales, but the rest of the globe is starting to join in, led by Europe, according to ABI. However, Wi-Fi adoption in European cities could be hindered, ABI says, by lingering health concerns in that region associated with the technology.

Regardless, global revenue from Wi-Fi access point and controller equipment in the higher-education space will jump more than six-fold from $137 million in 2007 to $837 million in 2013, ABI says.

"ABI Research believes that Wi-Fi access point and controller equipment revenue in the global higher education space will skyrocket," in the next five years, says Stan Schatt, ABI VP and research director.

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