Organizations that deploy private LTE have complete autonomy over who has access, how they access the network, and what they are allowed to do. Networks can be deployed on a single site, for example at a single campus location, or they can be deployed to address wide-area network requirements covering a broad geographic area, such as multiple campus locations.
This makes private LTE an excellent option for the education sector looking to transform its communications infrastructure in order to connect students, teachers, devices, and applications. Indeed, the number of private networks is set to rise globally over the next few years and across all verticals. This is indicative of a growing demand for de-centralized access, services, and applications, and aims to transcend the limits of public networks. But what are the benefits for K-12 communities and higher education colleges seeking reliable, secure, and high-quality connectivity?
Understandably, when it comes to security and data privacy, schools and colleges are concerned with the safety and welfare of their students and staff. In the case of private LTE, network administrators have complete control over what devices are permitted to use the network.
Security policies can be defined from within the school’s IT systems, allowing them to have full ownership and control over this process, reducing their dependency on operators and Wi-Fi providers. To gain entry, students and teachers can access networks using a two-factor authentication process that requires both SIM card and PIN verification for secure access.
Private LTE networks carrying data traffic that belongs exclusively to schools and colleges reduce the risk that data will be compromised by an external cyberattack. This provides assurances that students are protected within a safe learning environment. With greater visibility and control of the data, unauthorized traffic is easily detected and managed in order to preserve the integrity of the network.
Compared to alternative solutions such as public LTE and Wi-Fi, private LTE delivers consistent reliability and dependable levels of performance. This makes it the ideal option to help schools and colleges remain online and operational in the face of COVID disruption.
A major advantage of private networks is that they allow organisations to isolate their requirements from the rest of the mass market; this is important as there is greater assurance of network availability in congested areas, resulting in much more robust connectivity overall. Without interference experienced on public networks, students are able to achieve their academic goals unimpeded by sub-optimal network quality.
On a private LTE network, it is possible to arrange usage prioritisation for priority applications, such as video conferencing. This means that students using the network to browse social media or stream video content don’t slow down the network or the efforts of teachers and fellow students.
Going the distance
Premises run by academic institutions can commonly cover an expansive area, from hundreds of thousands of feet to a few square miles distributed over multiple locations. With college students isolated in dorm rooms and resorting to distance learning as a response to the pandemic, private LTE is the perfect solution to solve the ‘wide area LAN’ challenge as they offer superior range, both indoors and outdoors.
By installing their own private network, academic institutions can guarantee coverage at their locations to a mobile population of students and staff. In terms of reach, private LTE offers better signal strength and transmits across a variety of environments. For instance, signals from the CBRS component of the LTE network infrastructure can penetrate indoor walls, making this type of technology robust enough to support eLearning. In addition, high volumes of data can be carried over long distances which means educational resources can be shared easily.
Continuity of learning
As schools and colleges across the country evaluate their options to avoid serious disruption to students’ education, institutions should consider private networks as a viable opportunity to support new and emerging requirements for flexible learning.
An additional factor about private LTE is that it can be cheaper to run than public LTE, which is great news for school and college administrators who need to assign resources carefully and manage a tight budget. Private LTE provides the education sector with a cost-effective path to a safe and reliable wireless network over which they have full operational control. What’s not to love?
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