by Jane Stoyle Welch
Published June 15, 2020
Students in Filippo Malandra’s “Principles of Networking” class heard first-hand about the latest challenges in deploying small cell technologies for use on LTE and 5G networks from three Verizon engineers.
Mike Grolling, 5G program manager, David Sousa, senior system performance engineer and University at Buffalo electrical engineering alumnus, and Yenal Kucuker, network real estate regulatory manager, shared their collective knowledge on these technologies along with the challenges involved in the deployment of 5G networks.
The three engineers had originally planned to hold the seminar in person, but switched it up and converted their talk to a virtual session.
“Mike, David and Yenal did a great job adapting their materials to the online format, which the students and I appreciated very much. Guest speakers such as the Verizon team are very beneficial to the students and can help deliver high-quality and interesting seminars in the new distance-learning paradigm that we all had to adapt to this past semester,” says Malandra, assistant professor of research in the Department of Electrical Engineering.
Small cells are radio devices that permit users to access the internet through cellular networks, and are one of the main ingredients of 5G networks. They are more numerous than the more commonly used macro cells, and more directive, meaning that they can spread wireless power more efficiently to a smaller geographical region. Therefore, small cells emit less power and consequently reduce the emission of unwanted interfering signals.
“I believe that being exposed to industry's vision and viewpoint helps student realize that what they learn in class will be useful to them in their career. The materials covered in class can be easily related to real challenges faced by industry practitioners and this motivated my students: after the seminar, I noticed an increased interest and greater participation in my class,” says Malandra.
The class includes both graduate and undergraduate students and the Verizon engineers were able to show the students how these new technologies are used in practice.
The speakers also discussed health issues with regard to 5G networks and provided students with useful resources on the safety of 5G technology.
About 25-30 students took part in the event, which was held on April 23, 2020.