With the ever-increasing popularity of video games, it’s no surprise that there’s a day dedicated to recognizing video games and the gamers playing them. July 8 is Video Games Day, so whether you’re more inclined to crush candies or join friends for a round or two (or 10) of Fortnite, today’s your day!
In the world of online gaming, players want fast upload
speeds, even faster download speeds, and low lag. When multiple players are
using the same internet connection, the required capacity is multiplied by the
number of players.
For most of us, that’s a function of our home internet
connection. However, there’s one location where this need for bandwidth is
crucial because of sheer volume: the college or university residence hall. Gaming
consoles are among the average of eight wireless devices students bring with
them when they move on campus. (Curious about the others? Phones, laptops and
tablets, as well as smart TVs, wireless printers and wearables are among the
other common devices.)
What’s a university to do when the primary gaming demographic
is the same demographic as their enrollment … and they all want those fast
speeds and low lag rates at the same time? Fear not. There are solutions. And
the good news is, when wireless coverage is sufficient to support online
gaming, it is adequate to support academic needs also!
Look at Coverage and Capacity
capacity provide two approaches
to improving the performance of a wireless network.
Coverage: With 100 percent wireless coverage in all areas of the residence hall, students and staff will be able to connect and have Wi-Fi
service everywhere they need it. If there are areas where interference and dead
zones are an issue, a wireless site survey
can determine coverage needs
and identify any remediation
that is needed. It’s also a
good idea to keep an inventory
of all wireless devices and
their operating frequencies to manage and limit interference between devices.
Capacity: Wireless capacity is the ability of the network to provide reliable, responsive
wireless access to the growing
number of wireless devices that are
competing for bandwidth – in other words, each of those eight devices that students
are bringing to campus. This
could require more access points in closer proximity, higher power access
points, or a mix of both.
Without addressing the wireless needs, you might find that
students will take matters into their own hands and bring personal routers,
which can wreak havoc with the university’s installed infrastructure. A robust
wireless network that meets both coverage and capacity will eliminate these
rogue routers before they become a problem.
Increase your Bandwidth
For more than a decade, wireless has been the application driving the need for higher performance cabling infrastructure. The latest generations of WAPs are designed to simultaneously support more than 200 client devices. To get the promised performance, however, the cabling infrastructure that connects the WAP has to perform to those standards.
Wi-Fi 6 (the common name for IEEE 802.11ax) is poised to
become the largest and fastest growing wireless standard in history. And, Wi-Fi
7 is fast on the heels of Wi-Fi 6, with significant improvements beyond Wi-Fi
6. If you’re installing or upgrading cabling infrastructure today, you’ll want
to be sure it meets the requirements for Wi-Fi 7 at a minimum, so you’re
prepared for future generations of access points.
This means Category 6A cabling, to support 10GBASE-T, plus two to four cables per access port. Why four? A minimum of two cables is required to allow for speeds up to 20 Gbps with link aggregation. An additional two Cat 6A cables are then recommended to allow for increased densities over time. It’s easier and cheaper to install the added cables today, than it is to add them later.
Consider Power over Ethernet
Power over Ethernet (PoE) is the new power grid in today’s
buildings, with the latest PoE standards allowing for up to 99W of power via
the same structured cabling that is moving data to and from the device. Wireless
access points are a prime candidate for PoE. With PoE, WAPs can be moved, added
and reconfigured at will, without worrying about whether there is an electrical
source near the access point.
Once again, Category 6A is the go-to for PoE. The
construction of Category 6A cables means they are better equipped to handle the
heat rise that comes with PoE. Panduit’s Vari-MaTriX Cat 6A cables are designed
with improved thermal capacity, to provide the ultimate in heat rise protection
Design for Aesthetics
If you’re adding wireless capacity to existing residence
halls, you might not be able to run cabling infrastructure above the ceiling,
where that infrastructure typically lives in newer buildings. In cases like
this, we’ve seen universities have success using a raceway to contain the cabling
Purdue University successfully added wireless capacity in historic residence halls using a raceway solution plus small diameter cabling. Learn more about the award-winning Purdue project in our Purdue University Case Study.
Adding or improving wireless capacity for resident students doesn’t have to be a daunting task. With the right infrastructure in place, paired with our recommendations above, your students will be ready to game – or study – to their hearts’ content.