Private networks can be an ally for higher education institutions looking to digitize the tools and services they offer on their campuses. In order to carry out a fast and successful digital transformation, they need to evolve their wireless communications infrastructures by deploying solutions that meet the diverse connectivity requirements of current and future applications.
Many educational institutions have attempted to support their digital aspirations by installing, upgrading or expanding their campus wifi networks. But wifi has limitations in key areas such as reliability, security, performance, coverage, capacity and mobility. These limitations could prevent institutions from taking full advantage of broadband and Internet of Things (IoT) applications.
Taking campus wireless communication to the next level
Universities have diverse and evolving needs that require campus-wide communications. Among the applications that are driving the demand for better wireless connectivity are:
- Digital classroom technologies and digital productivity tools, such as lighting, smart boards and podiums.
- Industry 4.0 labs that can enable faculty, staff and students to study the use of communications technology to support industrial IoT applications.
- Campus security systems, such as cameras, smoke detectors, emergency buttons and drone-based surveillance.
- Campus communications, including VoIP/PBX systems and group communication applications such as push to talk and push to video.
- Digital billboards that display general information, emergency notices or help you find your way around campus.
- Distance learning applications, such as virtual and augmented reality (AR/VR) classrooms that can be accessed from anywhere in the world.
- Enhanced connectivity for student residences, including accessible high-speed internet, facilities management, emergency calls and smart home services.
- Mobile e-commerce and delivery services that can support concert and event ticketing, as well as food and beverage services.
Why are they ideal for these uses?
4G/LTE networks are the right choice for these new applications because they can match the reliability, predictability and security of wired solutions, while supporting wireless and mobile communications. They are based on global standards and are proven in public networks around the world. In addition, they offer a direct evolution path to 5G .
It also offers significant advantages over wifi when it comes to mission-critical communications. For example, 4.9G/LTE and 5G offer much more predictable latency and data rate performance and can connect hundreds of devices, machines, sensors or workers with a single small cell.
Private networks vs wifi
Wifi lacks robust cybersecurity and is vulnerable to hackers. In contrast, the 3GPP standard offers end-to-end encryption, IPSec for network communication and secure authentication for all users and devices.
LTE security has never been compromised, and 5G will bring even greater security capabilities.
Interference has a significant impact on the reliability of wireless networks. LTE manages interference with advanced schedulers that adapt radio efficiency, device coding and resource usage in real time.
Ubiquitous indoor and outdoor coverage
Unlike wifi, LTE and 5G have diverse capabilities to overcome obstacles. They can provide reliable coverage for people, sensors, machines and vehicles throughout the campus. LTE also supports spectrum options that can increase coverage and support higher frequencies.
Performance remains stable and predictable everywhere, even when loads are high. A 4.9G/LTE network can maintain an end-to-end latency of 9-15 ms, while wifi can have higher peak throughput than LTE if it has few users and no interference.
High multi-user capacity
Private wireless technology can provide sufficient capacity to support several hundred active users and thousands of connected devices per small cell.
LTE and 5G are based on 3GPP standards that consider full, gap-free mobility as an essential feature for a number of use cases, including those involving vehicles moving at high speeds.
One network for all applications
Educational institutions can simplify their operations and reduce costs by consolidating their applications onto a single network. A private wireless network has the advanced capabilities and high performance needed to support all types of traffic and an almost unlimited number of use cases, as illustrated above.