As a university carrying out world class research and teaching, the University of Galway benefits from superfast 5G broadband to connect at home and abroad.
For a university that serves over 19,000 students and 2,600 staff with links to 1,380* universities across the globe, “communication is central to us,” says John Gill, Chief Operating Officer at University of Galway.
With so many people coming and going, serving an ever-changing campus population is a constant challenge. “When everyone, or nearly everyone is on campus, it gets busy,” explains John.
With fixed line Wi-Fi already in place, an extra layer of secure connectivity was also desirable. “The critical importance of remaining connected meant that additional resilience was required” says John. Wireless 5G broadband was identified as a solution to support the existing fixed Wi-Fi and help avoid the unimaginable scenario where the campus goes without Wi-Fi.
John explains the importance of this in his own words: “We cannot operate effectively without an online presence. We can’t communicate with each other. We can’t communicate effectively with our students and the academic community cannot effectively communicate internationally.”
Technology is at the core of the student experience on campus, helping people to connect, become friends, and form the lifelong connections that are integral to the University of Galway experience.
“It’s easy to get caught up in the bits and the bytes discussion, but it’s the softer benefits and the intangibles that are really meaningful,” explains John.
This set of circumstances led John to pick up the phone to Ken McGrath, Three’s Head of Public Sector Sales. The next day, Ken visited the university to carry out a site survey and technical survey. The following day, the new wireless 5G broadband service was up and running.
“This all sits on a 5G infrastructure and the capacity and experience is there for the users,” says Ken. “I was pleasantly surprised at the speed at which the campus was surveyed and a solution was designed. The solution was immediately effective” says John, who puts the speed of building a network at scale down to a relationship that has been formed over many years.
“The relationship is key,” John continues, citing the academic research being carried out on site as an example of the deep ties that have been formed between Three and University of Galway over time.
Three is involved directly in university research, helping to merge the worlds of 5G and autonomous vehicles with the world class academics on site. “Three have acted as our partner, taking the time to understand the diverse nature of our operation and have worked with us to design a solution rather than a traditional vendor focused only on the transaction.” John points out.
This sentiment is echoed by Ken. “The relationship goes beyond technology,” he says. “While that’s important, the relationship and trust that goes with it is what we’re passionate about.”
From John’s point of view, the new wireless 5G broadband was not only cost effective, but also easy to procure. “From an operational management perspective, the devices operate using mobile SIM cards and appear as additional mobile phones on our bill, which facilitates our cost management.” he says.
The university now has additional network capacity and resilience in its Wi-Fi network. The wireless 5G broadband also allows for the fixed Wi-Fi network to be taken offline to facilitate maintenance activities.
Unforeseen uses for Three’s 5G broadband have also been found. “These innovative devices allow us to increase the Wi-Fi capacity in certain parts of our campus to support academic conferences and other critical events such as student open days,” says John.
“From a Three perspective, it’s exciting to see how this has evolved,” says Ken, reflecting on the many ways that customers are employing wireless 5G broadband.
Perhaps most importantly for John and the university, “the experience of moving between networks is seamless.” Those on campus can now move between wireless 5G broadband and fixed Wi-Fi without interruption. What’s more, users move between the two without even realising.
“It builds and adds to what we already have,” says John.
It also sets the university up for the future and the unknowns to come. As John says, “The university environment is continually changing which increases the reliance on our network from the perspectives of both resilience and capacity.” Superfast and reliable 5G broadband enables us to accommodate change and sets the university up for the exciting developments to come.
*These statistics have been taken from the website here.