How can 5G and 6G technologies benefit students, professors and researchers at universities and research institutes in Brazil? According to the National Education and Research Network (RNP), the academic community, made up of increasingly younger students with off-campus activities, demands more mobility and a high-performance connectivity experience, similar to optical fiber.
With that in mind, RNP presented its 5G strategy at the “Dialogue on the Challenges and Opportunities of Digital Transformation in Latin America and the Caribbean” event, held between November 14th and 18th in Montevideo, Uruguay. The event was organized by the Latin American Cooperation of Advanced Networks (RedCLARA), with the presence of representatives of regional teaching and research networks and those from other countries, who wish to structure their networks, as well as deans and invited authorities.
At the event, RNP highlighted its strategic objective of providing the Brazilian academic community with a safe, high-performance and readily available infrastructure. At the same time, a ubiquitous infrastructure, that is, accessible from anywhere and at any time, not only within the institutions, but also outside the campus, wherever users are. This connectivity would also extend to their things and artifacts, such as mobile devices and IoT applications.
According to RNP's Director of Engineering and Operations, Eduardo Grizendi, the organization has already been expanding its national optical infrastructure and installing access points to the Wi-Fi network of the eduroam service outside the campuses of its user institutions, in addition to the use of satellite services and mobile data service from 4G providers.
As examples of the use of mobile data services, Eduardo Grizendi cited the Alunos Conectados and Internet Brasil programs, which serve students in economically vulnerable situations, from public universities and basic education schools, respectively.
To provide mobile connectivity, RNP bets on the MVNO (Mobile Virtual Network Operator) business model, sharing the infrastructure of traditional providers, in particular, their mobile access networks.
According to the manager, RNP is structuring itself to make better use of 5G. “RNP needs 5G for its operation, both to serve the academic community in mobile connectivity, and also so that researchers can develop applications in the most diverse areas of intense use of this technology, such as Health, Industry, Agro, Smart Cities, Autonomous Cars, IoT, etc.”, said Grizendi.
One of the projects dedicated to developing 5G in the country will be OpenRAN Brasil, which will structure a new architecture based on open mobile access networks, ensuring the interoperability of this ecosystem and fostering innovation. The initiative is from RNP and the Center for Research and Development in Telecommunications (CPqD), with the support of the National Institute of Telecommunications (Inatel) and resources from the Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovations (MCTI).