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World-First Combination of Wi-Fi 6E, OpenRoaming at Polytechnic Institute of Viseu Showcases the Future of Higher Education

Tiago-Rodrigues

The Wireless Broadband Alliance (WBA)  announced a successful proof-of-concept trial of Wi-Fi 6E at a major university campus in Europe. The trial showcases the Extreme Networks AP4000 Wi-Fi 6E access point’s unique ability to enable immersive, interactive learning experiences, including 8K video. This was also the first time Wi-Fi 6E was tested on a network connected to WBA OpenRoaming™, which enables seamless handover between cellular and Wi-Fi networks.

Conducted at the Polytechnic Institute of Viseu (IPV) in Portugal, the trial is a milestone toward a full deployment that will give faculty and students new options for interacting with online resources like video, both in classroom and remotely. The trial was a collaboration between IPV, Broadcom, Extreme Networks, Intel, and Samsung. It covered a wide variety of bandwidth-intensive and latency-sensitive video use cases in a high-density environment, including:

  • An 8K video feed across the Wi-Fi 6E network, using a Wi-Fi 6E-enabled device as the broadcast platform. Scenarios included remote teaching with HD video in the classroom and simultaneous student access to HD and 8K videos for remote learning.
  • Fast handover for roaming between mobile and Wi-Fi networks, enabling users to seamlessly stay connected as they move on and off campus without impacting performance, no matter how many users are on the network.
  • Access to online classroom resources for remote learning, ensuring students can simultaneously access and interact with the same resources without buffering or increased lag times.

For this trial, Extreme deployed four of its AP4000 access points in a 1,400-square-meter venue that IPV uses to host on-campus events. Broadcom, Intel, and Samsung provided laptops, smartphones, and tablets enabled with 6E chipsets to run the trials. During the trial, Extreme observed a maximum download speed of 1.7 Gbps, which is close to the AP4000’s maximum possible throughput. Future trials will be conducted as new devices with 6E chipsets hit the market, including augmented and virtual reality (AR/VR) devices that will enable immersive classroom experiences and provide faculty and students with new ways to interact.

The Wi-Fi 6E connection speed demonstrated during the trial will enable IPV to increase its offerings for immersive hybrid learning, which is quickly becoming a more popular option for students in Europe. IPV is a technology-driven university, and Wi-Fi 6E will enable it to increase its use of technology for students on and off campus, giving them the skills necessary to obtain a job after graduating. Additionally, IPV delivers regional Wi-Fi for the Viseu municipality, and Wi-Fi 6E will ensure it has the bandwidth necessary to offer connectivity for students and local citizens who need to use it.

IPV is also the first organization in Portugal to participate in WBA OpenRoaming, which enables students, teachers, and other users on campus to automatically connect to a high-speed, secure, carrier-grade Wi-Fi 6 network wherever they are, indoors and outdoors, without experiencing disruption to their wireless network connection. WBA OpenRoaming ensures seamless handoffs from cellular networks to Wi-Fi, ensuring uninterrupted connectivity for users on the IPV campus.

During the trial, IPV students had no issues transferring between the OpenRoaming network and the Wi-Fi 6E network. IPV currently is exploring the possibility of using OpenRoaming to seamlessly integrate its Wi-Fi 6E network with cellular networks.

Tiago Rodrigues, CEO of the Wireless Broadband Alliance, said, “This trial showcases how WBA OpenRoaming and Wi-Fi 6E are ideal for delivering the kinds of immersive, interactive learning experiences that are the future of higher education. Whether they’re all in the same classroom or spread around the IPV campus, Wi-Fi 6E ensures that faculty and students will enjoy the same reliable, high-quality experiences even with the most demanding applications, including 8K video and AR/VR.”

Luís Almeida, Senior Network Administrator, Instituto Politécnico de Viseu, said, “Having a Wi-Fi 6E network on campus will open the door for us to increase our usage of emerging technology in the classroom. We can make our labs more immersive, increase the resources that we offer students online, and ensure that students have the same learning experience whether they are in the classroom or consuming lessons remotely. As soon as we are able to roll Wi-Fi 6E out across our entire campus, we know our students, educators, and all who connect to our network will immediately see the benefits of being able to connect in a new, clean spectrum.”

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