Interference from a variety of sources in residence is hurting WiFi performance.
With a large number of people (and wireless devices - computers, phones, tablets and so on) in a relatively small area, it's impossible to have good wireless coverage and good signal quality unless we can limit interference from devices that are not part of the campus wireless network.
The main sources of interference are:
1. Wireless printers that create their own wireless networks. When you see things like "DIRECT-4B HP OfficeJet 5740" in your list of wireless networks, they are directly interfering by using the same wireless channels as the campus network. If there are too many things competing for wireless airtime in a small area, nothing works well. The only real solution is to get rid of the interference.
2. Some people connect their own wireless routers in order to connect game console, media players and other devices. Like the printers, these are consumer-grade devices designed to work on home networks, where there is a single shared password to connect to the network (this is called "WPA Personal"). Large networks with hundreds or thousands of users use "WPA Enterprise", which requires a username and password to connect. Few consumer devices support this type of network. To get around this people connect their own consumer-grade wireless routers, which unfortunately are not designed to "play nice" with the wireless signals from other networks. So the result is more interference.
3. Bluetooth speakers and headphones. Bluetooth was originally designed for very low-bandwidth devices like keyboards and mice, but is now often used to stream audio. Bluetooth is not compatible with WiFi, but it uses some of the same parts of the wireless frequency spectrum, which means it is also a source of interference. The low-bandwidth stuff (keyboards and mice) is not a problem, but constantly-streaming audio is, especially at close range - such as a Bluetooth speaker on the desk of the other side of your wall.
Here's what we're doing
We have deployed a new wireless network called "DeviceNet" that will allow devices that do not work with WPA Enterprise (i.e. with a username and password) to connect to the campus wireless network. It will be necessary to register your device first, but the process should not be too difficult. It's basically a network for things that are not computers, phones, or tablets.
This means that printers should be able to connect to this network, rather than broadcasting their own, which should reduce interference.
Gaming consoles, media players, and other devices should also be able to use this network, so there will be no need for people to set up their own wireless routers, which should remove another source of interference.