AT&T, UConn Collaborating on Private 5G Network

UConn flag on campus

The University of Connecticut and AT&T are using mmWave 5G spectrum to create a private 5G network on UConn’s Stamford Campus. Students will benefit from the 5G network’s support of new programs in data science and entrepreneurship. Multi-access edge network compute (MEC) servers are also installed on the campus to assist with these efforts.

UConn’s Technology Director, Terrence Cheng spoke on the importance of such 5G resources for students on a webcast. “If we want to train the best and the brightest, now and into the future, we have to have the strongest assets at our fingertips, and 5G is a big part of that,” he said. “5G is going to allow us to evolve and to grow the curriculum that we offer.”

Some of the first areas of execution for the new 5G network will be a data science technology incubator and an entrepreneurial program that will allow students to develop products for both the construction and real estate industries. The goal is to get local companies involved. This will provide a mutually beneficial ecosystem to gain real-life opportunities for students and modern solutions for local businesses and organizations. “We work with many corporate, community, and non-profit partners, and oftentimes we will share resources. So ultimately this will have a domino effect and a long-term positive impact,” said Cheng.

Even those outside of campus were excited to hear about the AT&T/UConn project, including Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont, “5G is a real game-changer. Access to ultra-fast wireless speeds is critical to our economic future for business and residents of our state.” Lamont has long been a proponent of 5G in the state even helping through legislation to streamline municipal small cell deployments to support 5G and playing an important role in pushing state funding towards the 5G network for UConn.

With this move, AT&T continues to build a reputation of working with higher education as the company has already installed 5G on campuses around the country including the University of Miami, the University of Missouri, and Purdue University. In addition to AT&T’s efforts, there have been other 5G collaborations happening across the United States from other wireless providers. Including T-Mobile at Georgia Tech and the University of Kansas. The main goal as 5G is in its very early stage is to better understand what the future holds for the latest generation of wireless and to develop these types of private 5G networks for enterprises that can be paid for via subscription, as an investment, or both. 

Universities provide the perfect place to research these possibilities and these collaborations are exciting to watch unfold. Speaking on this, AT&T’s Vice President for Public Sector, Education and FirstNet Marketing, Matt Hickey, said, “Because there is so much yet to learn about the future of 5G, the environment is ripe for higher education to fill the need with funded research, public-private partnerships and wireless testbeds.”

Source: Fierce Wireless