Transforming education with 5G

February 17, 2022 | 15:00
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Dedicated 5G networks can play an important role in the connectivity of higher education institutions as data demands grow. Denis Brunetti, president of Ericsson in Vietnam, Myanmar, Cambodia and Laos, talks about the role 5G can play in transforming education in Vietnam, as well as Ericsson’s education initiative on 5G.
Transforming education with 5G
Denis Brunetti, president of Ericsson in Vietnam, Myanmar, Cambodia and Laos

Universities generate great ideas and innovation, and they have an extremely high need for connectivity. From labs to classroom equipment, there is a growing demand on the networks of these facilities.

Universities have many different IT needs and have to take a holistic approach to connectivity to deliver a seamless performance on both public and private networks. Fixed broadband connections and Wi-Fi alone will not be enough to meet the demand. The latest generation of mobile wireless in 5G, with its fast speeds, low latency, and superior security, will meet these growing connectivity needs.

Sprawling university campuses can be a challenging environment to achieve reliable, secure connectivity. A dedicated 5G network can serve as an extension of a school’s IP network, untethering applications from hardwired connections and students from Wi-Fi signals that ebb and flow in strength depending on what corner of the campus they’re standing in.

College IT administrators also need to stay ahead of the coming wave of connected devices. The pandemic also rapidly accelerated the use of online portals connecting students both on- and off-campus. Internet of Things (IoT) applications on a campus can include everything from emergency notification systems to smart ID badges for students and faculty members.

To power all those devices, a school needs a wide coverage network that provides the whole campus with reliable mobile broadband connectivity. Especially in outdoor environments, 5G networks powering a fixed wireless broadband solution can provide strong, secure coverage with far fewer access points than a traditional Wi-Fi setup.

Future-proof broadband networks

One example of how 5G dedicated networks can help university campuses meet their needs is an athletic venue, like a football stadium. 5G equipment allows network slicing, meaning that different functions (arena security, food sales, tablets on the sidelines, and more) all have their own dedicated network resources. A single Wi-Fi network may be too congested or too weak in spots to meet all these needs.

And this can also apply inside the building, for things like smart whiteboards. A mobile broadband connection gives the security and speed of fixed Ethernet while allowing equipment to be moved from room to room. This can also be applied to public safety technology – things like wireless cameras that can be redeployed during an event, or drones for autonomous patrols of outdoor areas.

Dedicated 5G networks are not a replacement for Wi-Fi, but a compliment and extension of the school’s existing IP network. A 5G-powered dedicated network can serve as a strong complement to public mobile broadband, and as IT departments look to cut the cord on things like security cameras and other equipment, it can provide connectivity that’s just as strong and secure as a hardwired connection.

Dedicated 5G networks are only one part of the overarching connectivity solutions for a university campus. In the coming years, universities will want to demonstrate their tech proficiency to attract top students and faculty talent to campus. Things like AR and VR, smart classrooms, and virtual instructions will become the norm.

Institutions will also look to things like drones for safety and security. A 5G dedicated network can help lay a powerful, secure foundation for these technologies. If a university wants to stay competitive and attract top students and staff, it needs to offer robust, secure, and high-speed connectivity on every inch of the campus. A 5G dedicated network is a key part of that solution.

Educating students on 5G

At Ericsson, we are partnering with the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT) for an education initiative on 5G in Vietnam that will help educate Vietnamese students on 5G and emerging technologies. This collaboration will enable RMIT’s science, engineering, and technology students to participate and contribute to the country’s digital economy and Industry 4.0 transformation.

As part of this collaboration, we will open our Ericsson Educate platform to RMIT students in addition to collaborating with the university for guest lectures, research projects, internships, and industrial projects, as well as creating relevant opportunities for students to benefit from Ericsson’s technology expertise and 5G leadership.

Ericsson Educate is a digital skills portal that provides varied access to learning material on key technologies. Select subjects that are covered at an introductory level include 5G networks, AI, machine learning, automation, blockchain, cloud computing, data science, IoT, and telecommunications.

Content from the Ericsson Educate platform will be utilised to complement RMIT’s science, engineering, and technology courses for university-level students. This is the first formal collaboration by Ericsson for our programme in Vietnam.

The 5G education collaboration with RMIT represents a significant step forward in the direction of building an industry-ready workforce in Vietnam through strategic partnerships. The 5G-ready talents that this collaboration will produce will serve to accelerate Vietnam’s Industry 4.0 agenda and boost the country’s digital transformation initiatives, helping drive the next wave of sustained and inclusive socioeconomic development in Vietnam, driven by science, technology, and innovation.

By Denis Brunetti

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