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Will 5G solve internet speed problems?

The answer to delivering school bandwidth could require getting pure wireless connections

Ultimately, the answer to delivering school bandwidth might require a radical rethink in which districts scrap expensive IT infrastructure in favor of pure wireless connections.

Next-generation 5G mobile-phone communications capable of moving as much as 1 Gbps directly to a device could make obsolete the school’s optical data line, server rooms, miles of network cabling and Wi-Fi access points.

Essentially, every device—from a third-grader’s tablet and teacher’s notebook to central office desktops—would have a direct link to the public mobile phone data network, the way your mobile phones do today. It would potentially be faster than all but what a handful of schools have now.

But it might only be an option—at least at first—in Dallas, Denver, Miami and Washington, D.C., and several other urban areas where Verizon will debut the technology.  (View the complete list.) 

Plus, school administrators would have to get comfortable with giving up some control by relying on vendors to deliver, secure and store data.

The big stumbling block is economics. Rather than maintaining an internal network, a district would pay on a per-machine basis for its data and might be subject to data limits.