Education is imperative and should not be compromised at all, especially in situations like the COVID-19 crisis that suddenly imposed strict restrictions to stay at home. Educators realised the need for technologies like 5G that could support them with attractive methodologies to give their students full time learning even when they are seated in their respective homes and not in schools. Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) have always been at the forefront of
testing 5G networks, deploying and commercializing 5G services thus satiating the need for high-end 5G applications for the education industry. In order to enable distance learning, schools are deploying private 5G/LTE network that will serve the purpose of network access inside and outside premises. With CBRS access points installed in schools, network coverage is built and LTE/5G signals are propagated in all directions of the buildings which makes easy to connect for students and continue their learning even from distance.
Here we are talking about a few trends that have evolved as 5G has gradually taken pace over the sector, empowering children with faster and unparalleled learning experiences than ever.
Private network built on 3.5GHz CBRS band is enabling education sector with uncompromised LTE and 5G quality network for educational buildings and campuses. In these times of unprecedented challenges like COVID-19, schools are leveraging such technology to continue learning and create a more personalized and interactive learning experience for both students and teachers.
Extension of Wireless coverage – High-speed wireless network services can be used to connect best faculty and students in the entire campus and get desired knowledge from them.
Tracking of campus transports – With private networks installed on school buses, students can be tracked, enabling wireless data transmission from remote sources with telemetry and allowing them to study while they are on the bus. On the other hand, students can also track their school bus on location and when they will arrive.
Record keeping becomes digital – Ease in updating and tracking records and preventing from catastrophic security breaches are some of the benefits gained from private network.
Modernization of classrooms – Experience faster than ever wireless connectivity for an uninterrupted, modernized education inside classrooms.
Enhanced security – Reliable and secured wireless connections for e.g., surveillance security cameras, sensors and access control systems communications within the campus safe with continuous network monitoring.
EnRoute to distance and remote learning with edge routers - As schools are turning digital, with CBRS in 5G classrooms indoor and outdoor sites for giving their students full access to education, edge routers are state-of-the-art CBRS applications guaranteeing wireless coverage in school areas and rural and undeserved remote locations for students and staff. Balancing both the health and safety of students and teachers is utmost priority and now following the ‘new normal’ way of delivering education with online technologies after the pandemic and beyond is the mission for most of the schools and educational institution nowadays.
A case in point is where The Utah Education and Telehealth Network (UETN) is applying a CARES Act grant to create private LTE network enabling students to access network without entering into the campus. UETN is also delivering school districts with CBRS-enabled SIM cards and students with edge routers that functions as a hotspot to connect to the network from anywhere and continue learning.
Murray City School District accelerated the creation of its own private cellular network to enable remote learning with CBRS using Evolved Packet Core (EPC) which acts as a controller and central brain of private LTE network, placing CBSD radio devices on rooftops of school communities and sending cellular broadband routers (CPE) enabled with SIM to students who were located in their respective homes. They deployed around 6,500 chromebooks with good reliable connectivity within two hours, one day before they closed down their schools due to imposition of lockdown last year in March 2020 as per Melissa Hamilton, Director of Elementary Learning.
Private 5G network architecture in schools
2. AR/VR applications enable immersive learning
The demand for video mixed reality (MR) content (produces new environments with the merger of real and virtual world) is growing continuously and requires low latency and high bandwidth to function optimally. The problem with previous networks like 4G was unable to maintain traffic needed for giving Augmented Reality/Virtual Reality (AR/VR) experiences to users. But, when it comes to 5G, no legacy communication technology can withstand in terms of giving seamless and innovative experiences to consumers. For instance, such technology can create human body models allowing medical students to have a grip of anatomy subject in detail. Leading telecom player, Verizon recently awarded $1 million to universities and enterprises who utilized AR/VR technologies, by organizing 5G EdTech Challenge to enhance middle school education.
3. Higher education recruitment strategies via online technologies
Attracting students for higher education with recruitment tactics is common, followed by most of the institutions. However, in the wake of the coronavirus disease and everything shut down, there was no other means for educational institutions except remote network access such as private LTE network allowing them to connect and encourage students for online recruitment and get enrolled in higher studies. For example, motivating students to apply on admissions website, enroll themselves in recruitment activities, organizing tele-counseling programs for coordinating on continuous scheduled recruitment calls on regular intervals.
4. Internet of Things (IoT) saves teachers’ time with smarter 5G classrooms
It always takes some time to set up devices and gather feedback from students. Now, deployment of 5G private network with IoT i.e., 5G in schools has gained spotlight among educators that allows teachers to log in automatically immediately after their entrance in the classroom, automating daily administrative tasks and getting students’ feedback digitally as all devices are connected through IoT. Other indoor use cases comprise from door locks to lighting controls to vending machines etc. This private network is much more secured operated under educational institution and no sharing of network with any third-party. Hence, high bandwidth gives strong signals constantly during the entire session for delivering lectures, presentations and many more and preventing from frequent call drop and change in focus.
5. Video downloads is just a matter of seconds
The modern generation in current world i.e., Gen Z has an addiction to watch videos, and why they should not when there are platforms like YouTube which provides multiple educational videos to learn and gain knowledge from it. Downloading of a high-definition (HD) video is what would take an hour with 4G LTE network can be simply downloaded in seconds or maybe less with 5G network as quoted by NBC News.
6. Students with special needs are assigned with full-time assistants
Teachers need to take care of their students with special needs more frequently. Sometimes it is seen that they require full-time assistance to interact with. As 5G is being implemented in robotic applications as well, this will really help in solving such problems. These robots will work as full-time assistants to bolster teachers by responding immediately to assist with learning activities/exercises.
7. Flexibility in new-age learning
Every student has own style of learning with different abilities to catch new concepts. With 5G, students are delivered education even outside the classroom at the same speed and responsiveness in the class to their devices – smartphone/laptop. 5G allows students to access the same information – exercises/lessons as their peers irrespective of their distance or location where they are located.