Wireless Broadband is the Foundation for Education Applications

As colleges and universities join the Digital Transformation era, they are now due to upgrade their operations to match the current and future needs of students, academics, and administrators on campus. This upgrade includes reliable and powerful connectivity for better speed, mobility, and security.

Connectivity is at the heart of remote learning, a better student experience, community services, and digital applications. “The future of higher education is about making campuses smarter, powering collaboration, and enhancing research,” said Steve Dyck, Principal Consulting Engineer at Nokia, during his keynote address at a recent Fierce Education’s virtual event, The Connected Campus. Nokia was one of the sponsors of the event. 

The Connected Campus event dived deeply into why the Internet is not any longer a need but a must, why connectivity matters for student engagement, security, and what the priorities for ensuring the future of higher education are. 

“Private Wireless networks can help your higher education institutions ensure students’ access to online learning from anywhere,” Dyck said to faculty and administrators during his presentation. “They will enable institutions to digitize operations and enable campus wide connectivity.”

High capacity Private Wireless networks on campus provide connectivity for online collaboration and power immersive technologies such as virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR), virtual labs as well as robotics, migration of Internet of Things (IoT) devices, and drone technologies; positioning both students and professors in 21st century education. 

“With shared spectrum technology like Citizen Broadband Radio Service (CBRS), organizations can make use of their own private networks, particularly on campuses, where they can guarantee coverage and trust their networks’ data security,” said Dyck. CBRS unlicensed spectrum for Private Wireless networks is suitable for small to large deployment with LTE (Long-Term Evolution) performance and predictability with greater network security, but with Wi-Fi simplicity. 

LTE and 4G open to 5G and there is an intermediate stage at 4.5 and with these capabilities you can enable medical research, drones and robotics, in particular robotics which need low-latency and a private LTE moving forward to 5G.  

Speaking about incremental reliability, performance, and security requirements, Dyck said that higher education campuses belong to the business-critical type of business and operations with business drivers such as ubiquitous, reliable, and secure connectivity as well as mobility. The network technology that will enable the capability that a campus needs includes 4.9G/LTE and 5G private wireless; Ethernet and Optical LAN; and Optical WAN. 

Essentials for Research and Education Networks (RENs)

Powering researchers for collaboration with the right and secure network is paramount for any university. RENs are important because they enable researchers to connect with other research organizations and partners maintaining data security. Benefits of RENs include: 

  • Resiliency: No single point of failure, multi-fault recovery, environmentally hardened
  • Flexibility: Adapt to new digital technologies, full interoperability with legacy and industry-specific applications, versatile
  •  deployment environment
  • Scalability: Massive scale for network growth, cost-effective bandwidth expansion 
  • Predictability: Assured quality of service, high service availability 
  • Simplicity: Service-centric provisioning and operations, Cross layer/domain management, TCO reduction   
  • Security: Defense in-depth, security by design, encryption, firewall, and intrusion detection   

This and other presentations part of The Connected Campus are available on-demand here. For more articles from The Connected Campus event, see: 

Growing Student Engagement Through VR and AR Powered by 5G

Addressing the Changing Landscape of Higher Education

The Connected Campus: More Access Means More Security Risk

Colleges and Universities Push the Frontier of Connectivity

Benefits and Limitations of Private Wireless Networks on Campus