Wi-Fi enabled bus would be about $300 per bus per month for the service and the equipment cost would be negligible.” Te availability of newer, faster and more

robust 5G service is becoming more preva- lent, as service providers seek to provide the next level of Wi-Fi connectivity. “Companies will need to invest heavily in 5G infrastructure, and the bigger the com-

pany, the more they will be able to invest quicker,” said Keith Engelbert, chief tech- nology officer for Student Transportation, Inc. “5G is a huge upgrade from 3G/4G networks and will be a game changer for the connected vehicle, connected school, connected communities and connected parents. 5G [does] so much—autono- mous vehicles, smarter, safer communities,

greater adoption, lower costs, larger service areas, better telematics, real-time bus video, more efficient routing of buses, [and] mobile classrooms. Te list will go on as govern- ments and companies build out the 5G infrastructure to compete on a global level.”

EMBRACING WI-FI Greensville, South Carolina school buses

have Wi-Fi installed on them, and the district has good things to say about the technology. Greenville County Schools ad- opted Wi-Fi technology provided by Boise, Idaho-based Cradlepoint, which produces routers and other network equipment. Te company has a specific niche for K-12 edu- cation applications, which includes school bus transportation. Greenville County Schools uses the Kajeet

SmartBus Wi-Fi solution that operates on the Verizon and Sprint LTE wireless networks. Te SmartBus solution has been added spe- cifically to school buses, to aid students who have a long ride to-and-from school. “Greenville County Schools has Wi-Fi

on our entire fleet of school buses,” said Bill Brown, executive director of educational technology services. “We went with the Cradlepoint device, because it used an already in-place infrastructure (4G LTE), was low cost and the install was easy. I have read that Microsoft is exploring the old TV band, which has no infrastructure in Greenville and is not an option for us. Perhaps one day.” Brown said the district accomplished its

primary goal, which was to allow student passengers to connect to the internet during the bus ride. Additional capabil- ities include: Real-time GPS, live stream of onboard cameras, real-time telemetry, onboard wireless panic alert, and onboard driver time and attendance, to name a few. “We are also exploring vehicle collision detection and alerting, and other safety systems,” Brown added. “For some districts, the priority for

Wi-Fi is on long-haul routes where kids are on a bus for over an hour,” said Kajeet’s Flood. “For other districts, they focus on buses that take students to-and-from activities, field trips and sporting events. Other districts will [or have yet to] decide to provide Wi-Fi on all the buses.” 

36 School Transportation News • JULY 2018

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