I work at a California community college that has chronically underinvested in computing and networking. The school has been gradually increasing wifi coverage, which now includes all but a few areas of campus.
As a result, you can walk through the cafeteria or the halls of the natural science building and see one student after another watching TV shows on a laptop. Yes, it's conceivable that they have an educational reason for doing so, e.g., maybe they're watching "I Love Lucy" in order to research a paper on media stereotypes for their women's studies class. But in reality, I think they just want to watch Spongebob for entertainment.
This causes severe problems, because the network was never designed to be a TV conduit for thousands of students. It apparently was one factor leading to the fact that the entire wifi network went down for the first 6 weeks of this semester.
My school's Acceptable Use Policy forbids various uses such as commercial activity, chat, and playing games, but it does not forbid binge-watching "Breaking Bad" over the school's wifi network. I can understand the concern that once the school starts blocking certain web sites, there is a slippery slope leading toward violations of academic freedom. However, it seems farfetched to say that we have to let students access Netflix while logged in to a student account.
Are technological solutions such as bandwidth caps for student accounts a good option? This would seem to sidestep the issue of academic freedom. Spending our way out of the bandwidth deficit does not seem to be an option; not only do we not have the money, but there is every reason to expect that demand would expand to saturate supply.
Can anyone describe best practices for keeping a campus computer network from getting brought down by inappropriate use? An ideal answer would describe both a successful policy and how it was successfully enforced without infinging academic freedom.