Can you guess what makes me feel old? Today’s college students
have never known a world without the Internet. They’re always connected and
have the ability to access data instantly, without having to go to the library.
They communicate by texting, messaging and e-mailing, in addition to phone
When I was in school and wanted to communicate with someone
non-verbally, I had to use a hand-written note; and accessing data meant
sifting through the card catalog while trying to remember the intricacies of
Decimal System. Today, schools are coming up with unique ways to integrate Instagram, Twitter
and Facebook, since these are the
mediums students often use for communication. For today’s college students, the
Internet has always been the communication backbone.
It’s no wonder that schools are leading the way in providing
always-on connectivity. Some enterprises are still trying to figure out if they
want to support a bring
your own device (BYOD) policy or whether they really need to ensure they
will have cellular coverage and capacity everywhere in the building. On the
other hand, educational facilities confronted these problems several years ago.
Their customers (students, faculty, and support staff) don’t care how they get
connected – they just want a connection. It could be a cellular connection, a
WiFi connection or a wired connection; it doesn’t matter. The expectation is
that some sort of path to the Internet is readily available and in place when
it is needed. In fact, these users often times don’t know how they are connected but most
certainly know when they are not.
The organizations deploying the technology to support this
requirement understand the inherent challenges. There are three disparate but
complementary networks that have to be readily available: the wired network,
the WiFi network and the cellular network. Some enterprises are still figuring
out the best way to deploy two of the three (predominantly wired LAN and WiFi).
Educational facilities know that all three must be in place to satisfy their
The latest standard from TIA
attempts to address the issues of deploying communications networks. The
ANSI/TIA-4966 standard, “Telecommunications Infrastructure for Educational Buildings
and Spaces,” is the first cabling standard to include information about WiFi
networks and distributed
antenna systems (DAS). All the guidelines you would expect from a cabling
standard are there, including recommendations for Category 6A and OM4 cabling.
Additionally, recommendations around density of wireless access
points in various facilities found on campuses are also included. DAS
cabling guidelines are included by reference to TIA-568-0.D - a generic
telecommunications cabling standard. Security features, such as video
surveillance, are an important aspect of educational facilities and is covered
by the proposed TIA physical network security standard that is in development under
To help navigate all the connectivity standards activities,
CommScope has released an FAQ
document to help understand the TIA-4966 standard. This abbreviated version
provides highlights of the standard and might help readers recognize why the
standard’s recommendations need to be taken into account when building or refurbishing
If you want to see the future of connectivity, look no
further than our schools. Once again, they are leading the way in how our connectivity
future is shaped.
How do you think schools are doing in providing Internet
connectivity for their “customers?” What did you experience when you were still
in school? Leave a comment below to let us know.