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Samsung works with Howard University on broadband connectivity effort

The network has already deployed to part of the campus, with full-campus connectivity scheduled for phase 2.
Written by Jonathan Greig, Contributor

Samsung and Amdocs announced a new effort this week that will bring broadband connectivity to students, faculty, and local residents traveling to Howard University's campus in Washington D.C.  

The companies are deploying a Citizens Broadband Radio Service (CBRS)-based network across the campus. Howard worked with IT consultants at WAZ Wireless and eventually decided on hiring Samsung and Amdocs to implement the wireless network. 

According to Amdocs, CBRS is a mid-band radio frequency spectrum from 3.5GHz to 3.7GHz that delivers fixed wireless service and allegedly offers network operators and organizations "a secure pathway to 5G."

Jahmal Cue, Howard University's senior network and infrastructure manager, said the deployment was on schedule and supported a variety of use cases on the campus. 

"The Samsung and Amdocs solution has provided our end users with a reliable and sustainable solution for both CBRS and WiFi connectivity," Cue said. "We look forward to continuing our relationship with Samsung and Amdocs to expand the network."

The organizations said a CBRS-powered private network provides "the high levels of security required and delivered the higher data speeds and lower latency needed to ensure enhanced connectivity to more than 6,000 students traveling across campus."

Olga Osaghae, Howard University interim chief information officer, said Amdocs and Samsung's private network solution would augment the main campus WiFi network and provide a platform to support Howard University's Continuity of Operations Plan (COOP) for internet and wireless connectivity.

The university suffered from a ransomware attack in September that forced them to shut down the university's network and campus WiFi for days. Multiple classes had to be canceled due to the issue. 

Howard University's network uses Samsung RAN solutions, including 5G-ready 4T4R CBRS radios, while Amdocs designed the network, integrated the required network infrastructure (RAN, CORE, transport, security), and performed the deployment services. Amdocs will also be maintaining the network. 

Samsung and Amdocs are now working together as part of a network collaboration agreement that will see them offer 4G and 5G services to a variety of organizations. 

"We're pleased that Samsung's CBRS technology was able to quickly deliver secure and reliable wireless connectivity for the students, faculty, and visitors of Howard University," said Samsung Electronics America vice president Imran Akbar. 

"Our CBRS radios have accelerated digital connectivity across industries, and now, working with Amdocs, we look forward to leveraging this versatile technology to help the educational sector benefit from 4G and 5G-ready broadband wireless networks that deliver secure mobility and meet campus needs."  

An Amdocs spokesperson said the network has already been deployed for part of the campus and full campus connectivity will come in phase 2 of the project.

Plans are in place to continue expanding the coverage and capabilities weekly. 

"From our perspective, the additional capabilities LTE/5G provides in terms of capacity, security, and performance was a driver for them to upgrade their network and prepare them for the future," the spokesperson said. "Additional use cases are being looked at to migrate onto the network as the buildout becomes complete."

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