NMU Planning for LTE Network
Next fall’s university-issued laptop computers will have built-in LTE (long-term evolution), the next generation of wireless that runs at speeds two to three times faster than WiMAX, handles more users and offers more equipment choices.
“There’s limited WiMAX equipment being produced in the U.S. because it’s a mature product and you can no longer get it built into laptops,” said Dave Maki (IT-Technical Services). “So we will be replacing the WiMAX infrastructure to make the shift to LTE. To ensure a smooth transition, both networks will be operational until the final university issued WiMAX equipment is taken out of service in 2018. The LTE network infrastructure will cost about the same as WiMAX to build.
"I want to clarify that talk of going to a four-year replacement cycle on the laptops has nothing to do with saving money to build the LTE network. In fact, we are currently taking advantage of the advances in technology. Equipment is being issued that meets the needs of the curriculum and last four years, if properly maintained with hardware and software updates. For example, the T420s people have now for the fourth year have comparable performance to the x230s distributed three years ago, as long as the software is kept up to date. I would encourage any students who are having issues with their equipment--i.e., battery life, keyboards, Windows performance issues--to visit the Help Desk or Micro Repair.”
Maki said LTE is a cellular data product and both the laptop and home adapter will operate with a SIM card, similar to an AT&T phone.
“The LTE we’ll be using is Band 7 full duplex,” he added. “A lot of off the shelf mobile devices can access this LTE network, but we’re not going to make the change from distributing laptops to tablets. Tablets aren’t for content creation; they are best used for content consumption.