How 5G could help improve campus security and safety
Author: Katie McNeil
Deploying 5G on campus can help higher education institutions be more immersive, equitable and collaborative. It could also help improve campus safety. Campus safety is often top of mind for university administrators. An increasing number of Internet of Things (IoT) security devices can make campus security protocols easier to manage but only if the underlying infrastructure can keep up. To continually improve campus safety and security, educational institutions need a fast, reliable network. The fast speeds and low latency that 5G can offer could be important for campus security teams when connectivity matters most. In addition to low latency, 5G can offer several enhancements in terms of network security such as full mutual authentication between user devices and the network, a presumed "open" network philosophy similar to Zero Trust Architecture, mandated encryption and enhanced subscriber identity protection.
Types of campus security technology
Many educational institutions are increasing their use of physical security technology. Technologies that can help address campus safety and security concerns include:
Security camera systems are an existing security tool on many campuses, and many rely on cloud technology for remote monitoring. Intelligent video systems represent one type of technology that can help improve campus safety by automatically alerting campus security teams of suspicious behavior.
Smart lighting solutions allow schools to either remotely operate lights or set parameters to automatically adjust lights based on schedules. These lighting solutions ensure spaces are not only well-lit for learning but can also help identify and deter intruders.
Automated lockdown systems can enable staff to use an app to effectively lock down a school building by closing and locking exterior doors with the push of a button.
Campuses use a variety of wireless credentials, such as smart cards, mobile phones, etc., to grant access to campus buildings and record activity.
Mass notification systems
Mass notification systems broadcast emergency alerts to a large number of people in near real-time. Systems use a variety of channels, including phone calls, emails, text messages and mobile app notifications.
The benefits of 5G for campus security
Nearly all of these campus security technologies are connected to the campus network, emphasizing the need for a strong, reliable connection. The high bandwidth and low latency that 5G networks can offer should have a significant role to play in the future of education.
Because Verizon’s 5G Ultra Wideband has the potential to move data substantially faster than 4G, it could help ensure a reliable, secure connection for IoT devices, including high-definitionsurveillance technology that could improve campus safety and security. The more IoT devices a campus uses, the more susceptible it can be to cybersecurity threats. Because 5G mutually authenticates based on the device, it's inherently more secure than Wi-Fi, which authenticates based on less secure protocols WPA2 or WPA3.
Private 5G for the campus environment
The typical campus environment—a large area with many distributed users and devices both indoors and outdoors—could potentially benefit from 5G technology. 5G can support a wider range of distributed users and maintain reliable performance when all those users are connected at once as compared to earlier wireless generations. Private 5G is a dedicated, secure, managed wireless network that can connect an entire campus with high-speed connectivity.
Regardless of whether the premises are within a public 5G coverage area or even indoors or outdoors, private 5G networks can bring a custom 5G experience where high-speed, high-capacity and low-latency connectivity is crucial.