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Pioneering initiative: the world's first master's degree in 5G technology networks

IMDEA Networks Institute

Arturo Azcorra, director of IMDEA Networks, professor at UC3M and vice president of the research and innovation laboratory 5TONIC discusses the world's first master's in NFV and SDN technologies for 5G networks in the "Punto de Enlace" program of Radio Exterior de España broadcast on 21 March 2018.

In the interview, Arturo Azcorra details the contents of the master's degree and the technologies that will be studied, emphasizing the benefits and opportunities created by 5G mobile networks. He explains technical concepts such as NFV (Network Functions Virtualization or "virtualization of network functions") and SDN (Software Defined Networking or "software defined networks") to the listeners.

Arturo also highlights the 5G functionality that is likely to have the greatest impact. This usually tends to be identified as the greater data transfer speed. However, its main advantage will focus on the personalization of services and its ability to provide very different services (such as healthcare, education, entertainment, industry 4.0, security, etc. ) all over the same infrastructure. This is enabled thanks to its flexibility and its greater number of bands.

5G will have a tremendous impact on all sectors of economic activity, not only on industry. It will lead to a complete transformation of the habits of companies and citizens alike: from the way we buy items to how certain products are manufactured. As Azcorra says, "the big risk with 5G is that the countries that miss this train will be relegated to the second tier, because their production activity will be so uncompetitive compared to those countries that are able to take advantage of these technologies."

Technology is advancing in leaps and bounds, which further emphasizes the importance of the new master's degree at Carlos III University of Madrid, which has been developed in collaboration with Ericsson and with the support of IMDEA Networks through the '5TONIC' laboratory of 5G excellence. The master's degree aims to provide students with an excellent level of training in the technologies that will dominate the future. The entry profile is that of a telecommunications engineer, computer engineer, physicist or mathematician, who in principle already has a degree and a master's degree in ICT technologies and who wants to specialize in NFV and SDN. As for the teaching staff, Azcorra stresses that they have sought out "the most qualified professionals in the academic or industrial world to teach the master's degree to the highest quality".

So far, the master's degree - which was created in 2015 - has been taught only in Spain. The classes are in English, because it is oriented toward international students, since these are globalized technologies. The objective is to break down the barriers to the dissemination of knowledge and to internationalize it. In fact, from next year, the degree can be provided in other countries via remote classrooms connected by teleconference. Indeed, an agreement has already been reached with Ericsson to establish a remote classroom in Paris and a similar solution is also being developed in Rome.


(Audio available in Spanish only).