AT&T deploys 5G connectivity in new University of Missouri lab

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The research and teaching space is expected to open this spring and will feature full 5G+ millimeter-wave capability, the company says.

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Rendering of the University of Missouri innovation lab.

Image: University of Missouri

Later this spring, students and faculty at the University of Missouri will be able to immerse themselves in 5G in a new lab on campus, thanks to a continuing collaboration with AT&T. The parties, which last year offered a course on how 5G can address community problems, are working together on the emerging technologies lab, which is under construction in Cornell Hall, according to Matt Hickey, vice president, AT&T Public Sector.

“The research and teaching space will feature the bandwidth and the capacity for students and faculty to be on the forefront of innovation,” AT&T said in a press release.

AT&T said it is deploying the 5G connectivity in the lab, including design, transportation, installation and equipment. The build-out is underway. The lab will feature one 5G+ millimeter-wave radio and one 4G LTE radio, Hickey said. 

SEE: Future of 5G: Projections, rollouts, use cases, and more (free PDF) (TechRepublic)

The addition of the LTE radio adds increased coverage within the building where the innovation lab will be housed, he explained.

“Installing 5G mmWave within an indoor lab environment opens unique research and learning capabilities for Mizzou,” Hickey said. “Today, AT&T is primarily installing mmWave in outdoor, urban and densely populated areas, which are not conducive to research, testing and learning.”  

The lab is part of the Mizzou-AT&T partnership “to share technology and help craft the future of 5G-enabled devices and applications,” AT&T said. It is the latest initiative from the University of Missouri Institute for Experiential Education, Innovation and Entrepreneurship.

Students will use 5G to innovate to address challenges facing Missouri and communities around the world, such as telemedicine, remote surgery and the use of AR/VR in immersive journalism, AT&T said.

“The University of Missouri is a vibrant academic community with a strong focus on leadership and real-world skills. It is one of only six public universities in the country with schools or colleges of medicine, veterinary medicine, agriculture, arts and science, law and a powerful research reactor—all on one campus,” said Alyson Woodard, vice president and general manager for AT&T.

 “Our collaboration is all about taking innovation across different disciplines and creating solutions that can be used in the real world,” Woodard added. “We are excited about the opportunities that 5G will create to increase the pace and capacity for innovation at the university.” 

Currently, AT&T’s nationwide 5G network is available in Columbia, Missouri, where the university is based. MU students and faculty are already exploring a wide variety of potential 5G applications, AT&T said, including how they could transform telemedicine by enabling remote surgeries and how reporters could use augmented reality to create immersive journalism.

One course in development will explore the potential of creating kiosks around campus that use immersive technologies to reduce anxiety and improve mental health. The idea for the kiosks originated in past student proposals to AT&T, it said. 

“Bringing 5G to Mizzou’s emerging technology lab and campus will further enable students to explore new experiences, solve complex problems and create new ideas to change the world,” said Anne Chow, CEO, AT&T Business, in the release.

J. Scott Christianson, an associate teaching professor in the Trulaske College of Business, noted: “5G is not just for phones. Drones and autonomous vehicles need data connectivity, and 5G provides wireless speeds that help move computing power to the edge of the network.”

Christianson added that 5G opens opportunities to explore new use cases that could create value and transform experiences for consumers, enterprises and society.

Ajay Vinzé, dean of the Trulaske College of Business, said: “5G is not the answer, it’s a catalyst. It will be an enabler for innovation in both the delivery and consumption of higher education.”

In addition to Mizzou, AT&T said it is exploring 5G use cases with Purdue University and the University of Miami.

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