Digitization is rapidly transforming education at all levels. In K-12 schools, colleges, and universities, the evolution of data-driven technologies has opened the door to a host of compelling e-learning and campus operations applications. To take advantage of these applications, educational institutions need networks that can provide reliable, high-performance campus-wide connectivity and ensure that all students have access to broadband service.
Local campus Wi-Fi solutions are not enough
Educational institutions recognize this need and are working to modernize their networks for the digital age. To date, many have focused on supplementing their fixed Ethernet infrastructure by upgrading or expanding existing campus Wi-Fi networks.
Some of these institutions are opting for do-it-yourself (DIY) approaches that involve integrating Wi-Fi access points, internet routers, cables, and open-source software into a single network. However, their IT departments often lack the technical skills and resources they need to succeed in these efforts. Additionally, the limitations of Wi-Fi technology mean that most local solutions fall short of expectations for capacity, coverage, reliability, security and mobility. They also tend to be more expensive than expected after commissioning.
Standards-Based LTE Solutions Eliminate Risk
A better and more predictable approach for institutions is to partner with an established solution provider to deploy a private wireless network based on standardized and future-proof 4.9G/LTE technology. 4.9G/LTE private networks meet the stringent demands of digital applications with ubiquitous and ultra-reliable indoor and outdoor coverage, high capacity, low latency, strong security and seamless mobility. They also reduce risk by offering simpler deployment, lower total cost of ownership, and improved scalability compared to Wi-Fi.
By supplementing their existing Ethernet and Wi-Fi infrastructure with a dedicated 4.9G/LTE network, institutions can provide high-speed connectivity for everyone and support a new generation of educational applications and campus services. They can also pave the way for 5G wireless technology, which will take network performance and coverage to new heights and open up countless possibilities for teaching, learning and operations.
Connectivity for innovative educational applications
Private 4.9G/LTE networks enable institutions to use technologies such as augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR), and artificial intelligence (AI) to enhance classroom learning and provide students with opportunities exciting and engaging e-learning experiences.
For example, high-performance private wireless networks can allow instructors to use the metaverse to provide access to immersive virtual spaces where students can meet, collaborate, and learn. Imagine a virtual trip to the Taj Mahal or a real-time remote orchestra rehearsal. Additionally, private 4.9G/LTE networks can power AR/VR tools that allow students to train and get coaching on technical skills that will help them succeed in the career they aspire to be. surgeons, aircraft mechanics or power plant engineers.
A private 4.9G/LTE network can also provide a connectivity foundation for educational applications driven by AI and machine learning. In K-12 schools, these apps could help teachers introduce adaptive learning and tailor resources to each student’s needs. In higher education institutions, they could power chatbots that enable highly adaptive and personalized learning experiences.
Bridging the digital divide
The pandemic has exposed the digital divide that still exists for millions of students. Private wireless networks help K-12 schools and local authorities bridge this gap by providing high-speed access to students. Schools in urban areas can use private 4.9G/LTE networks to provide reliable high-speed Internet service to unconnected or underserved households. In rural areas where students live farther from campus, schools can combine private wireless with Fixed Wireless Access Gateways (FWAs) deployed at or near student homes to ensure equal access to learning on line.
On university and college campuses, private wireless networks can improve connectivity for dormitories and student residences. They can support affordable high-speed Internet access, emergency calling, and smart home services that improve quality of life and enable all students to succeed.
Improve campus operations
The benefits of standards-based private wireless networks can also extend to campus operations. For example, 4.9G/LTE networks can improve campus safety and security by reliably connecting systems such as cameras, smoke detectors, emergency call buttons and surveillance drones. They can create efficiencies and improve operational awareness by enabling campus employees to communicate using push-to-talk and push-to-video services. And they can keep students, staff, and visitors informed by connecting digital display panels that display general, orientation, or emergency information.
Institutions that choose private 4.9G/LTE connectivity can improve campus operations and student life with new online services for dining, event ticketing, housing services, and community engagement. The seamless mobility offered by 4.9G/LTE and future 5G networks may even allow these capabilities to be complemented with delivery services based on drones or autonomous vehicles.
Schools should invest in private wireless today
The rapid evolution and adoption of technology has made it essential for K-12 schools, colleges, and universities to digitize their tools, services, and applications. These institutions cannot rely on DIY Wi-Fi solutions. They need reliable wireless broadband technologies that can support rapid and successful digital transformation.
Private wireless solutions based on standardized 4.9G/LTE technology can meet this need by meeting the stringent security, reliability, coverage, mobility, capacity and flexibility requirements of digital applications. These solutions can be deployed today. By moving to private wireless now, institutions will be ready to support innovative education, connectivity and campus services that can keep up with the rapidly changing needs of students, instructors and staff.