Analysis of the effect of wireless campus networks on internet usage in Kenyan universities
Campus wireless network deployment at Kenyan Universities has become common aiming at increasing internet coverage on campuses. The utilization of internet and IT enabled services is increasingly on campuses with the pace of automation of processes. Use of IT enabled services and the need to impress ICT in teaching, learning and research globally has pushed Universities in adopting technology to disseminate this core mandate. This study investigated how growth in deployment of wireless campus network and security level implemented affects internet usage in Kenyan Universities. Data was collected from 14 Universities out of a total of 68 representing 21% of all Universities. Stratified random sampling and purposeful sampling were adopted to come up with the sample size. The respondents were ICT Managers, network administrators, students, finance officers and researchers. The major findings of this study indicate annual increase of internet usage that ranges from 41% to 142% with wireless campus network deployments. For universities where wireless networks are not deployed, growth in internet usage ranges from 0-20%. Universities with more restrictive the security level implemented attracts high number of users seeking support from IT team to access wireless networks and therefore limits internet usage on campus. Based on the research findings, the study recommends the following; 1. Universities management should consider ICT as a strategic platform for transforming teaching, learning and improving efficiency and therefore increase IT budgets for deployment of wireless campus network infrastructure to increase coverage on campuses to at least KES10M and above for start up universities 2. University ICT team should consider to register wireless devices in order to have visibility of user devices to track cyber security cases since 55% of the universities do not register wireless devices. 3. ICT user training should be carried out to finance officers and all other IS users departments. 4. The frequency regulatory body -Communication Commission of Kenya (CCK) to develop a roadmap on identification and allocation of frequency for the deployment of new wireless technologies such as Long Term Evolution (LTE) technology to rapidly expand growth of campus wireless networks or hotspots Although wireless technology is broadly deployed on campuses, there are challenges with ICT budget allocation for roll out of these networks and IT enabled services by University management. There are also challenges between use of ICT services on wireless network and security of the information systems. Internet usage within the University community depends on the extend of coverage of wireless networks on campuses and availability of relevant IT enabled services as well as security level implemented on wireless networks. A balance needs to be reached between ease of access and security level to be implemented. The study extended knowledge by establishing practical % growth in internet usage with respect to the various dependent variables.