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5G and Edge Computing Infrastructure

Paving the Road for Educational Institutions with Innovations to Enable, Strengthen, and Build on How Students Learn and Teachers Teach

In the educational industry, notebooks and chalkboards are now replaced by laptops and smartboards. Technological advancements have improved how teachers teach, students learn, researchers study, and administrators operate within the sector.

According to Statista, the United States has more than 3,000 universities, the second most in the world behind India with over 5,200.  Online learning has significantly transformed the educational industry in the past two years providing innovative approaches and solutions to accommodate teachers, students, and administrators worldwide. In 2020, the percentage of students enrolled in online learning in post-secondary institutions was more than 72%. Before 2020, only about 19% of undergraduate students took online classes. While 98% of universities offered online courses in 2020.

Innovative technologies improve the classroom and online learning opportunities for students and teachers, enhancing the process overall, made possible by the pivotal role of edge computing and 5G. This is especially the case for distributed environments where teachers and students are dispersed with the ultimate need for speed.

Edge computing brings applications closer to data sources like the Internet of Things (IoT) devices and sensors or local edge servers to end-users, significantly reducing latency while increasing capacity and reliability. Edge computing is the backbone of the educational IT infrastructure space. 5G requires unprecedented rapid data transmission, achieved when there is a shift to the network edge to enable 5G-level applications and services.

Bringing the computing infrastructure closer to users reduces latency — improves user experience. The edge allows interaction in virtual classrooms with ultra-low latency, increased bandwidth, and speed.

Cybersecurity is a leading concern for both universities and colleges. More Internet of Things-connected devices on your network increases your cyber risks. Traditional cloud computing takes place on physical hard drives and website servers, making data vulnerable to hacking. Universities and colleges that spread processing and storage functions throughout the edge ensure no single attack will bring down their entire network since computing happens at the edge, closer to the data source; less data is at risk. 

Universities and colleges need a reliable network to handle a substantial amount of data to support classroom video conferencing, exams, and during enrollment months, thousands of student applications. The edge helps relieve overloaded networks when more students and teachers are online during the heaviest usage times.

The global educational services market is forecasted to grow from $2882.52 billion in 2021 to more than $3191.79 billion in 2022. Let’s look at a few use cases in the industry.

Smart campuses are beneficial for students, teachers, researchers, and administrators. Many universities, especially larger ones, recognize that offering students a higher echelon while on campus sets them apart from other schools and is a differentiator that students want and need in this rapid world of digitalization. It is not only about getting an education but providing an optimal experience for students to fully enjoy campus life.

Some use cases on campuses include sensors. Sensors track and schedule shared spaces like labs and libraries, notify students when computers and laundry facilities are free, and student applications are processed in a few hours and not months. Connected blackboards allow professors to share grades with teaching assistants instantaneously.

Safety and security have been a critical focus for institutions in the past few decades. Internet-connected sensors, smart locks, high-definition with low-latency video monitoring, automated lighting across campuses, and location intelligence platforms have been implemented on campuses to increase the safety of students and staff. Smart campuses have improved operational efficiencies while decreasing costs. Sensors are used to indicate when maintenance is needed for HVAC systems — lighting, heating, and cooling.  

Artificial Intelligence (AI)

AI tools enable administrative tasks to be completed quickly and efficiently. Some administrative use cases include scheduling and rescheduling classes, taking attendance, grading papers, and keeping financial data and records up to date. Additionally, AI provides the opportunity to tailor learning to each student. For example, AI software tools help teachers set the strategies for each student to learn at their own speed — creating individual lesson plans customized to where each student is in their learning process.   


Prominent educational institutions with smaller schools following suit are on the cusp of revolutionizing learning. Some schools have already transformed with the needed changes to adapt with the understanding that students are looking for more regarding how they learn and the unique experiences colleges and universities have to offer within their educational journey.     

The future of our educational system is evolving. Students’ experiences will be hyper-personalized to their needs. This will make learning more immersive, fun, and tailored to each student’s capabilities. 5G, edge computing, and the IoT enable the streamlining of processes and procedures for quick and accurate execution of tasks and responsibilities while opening the door for unique learning experiences.

Netrality delivers best-in-class interconnection and colocation services through its operator-owned buildings, featuring cloud-neutral Meet Me Rooms with a robust ecosystem of providers delivering ultra-low latency, high performance, scalability, and network reliability.

The pace at which society is moving is fast, and with that comes the need for institutions to stay relevant and competitive. Contact us today to learn more about our strategically interconnected data centers and how our team of experts will help design IT environments to meet your institution’s needs.

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