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Training the modern world

A Learning Wi-Fi Service distribution switch sits in the Allee Hall communication room at Keesler Air Force Base, Mississippi, May 25, 2021. The Learning Wi-Fi Service is a standardized and accredited commercial wireless internet service dedicated to support military training both inside and out of the classroom. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Spencer Tobler)

A Learning Wi-Fi Service distribution switch sits in the Allee Hall communication room at Keesler Air Force Base, Mississippi, May 25, 2021. The Learning Wi-Fi Service is a standardized and accredited commercial wireless internet service dedicated to support military training both inside and out of the classroom. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Spencer Tobler)

KEESLER AIR FORCE BASE, Miss. --

In late 2018, the need for a commercial wireless internet system was identified as an emerging requirement by the Air Education Training Command to help expand learning opportunities for Airmen in training in and out of the classroom. The Learning Wi-Fi Service was identified as the solution and a proof of concept was operated at Keesler in early 2019.

“The cybersecurity restrictions that are present on the Air Force Network made it impossible for students to get on the cloud and access training material outside of the classroom,” said Antonio Jo Matheu, 81st Communications Squadron chief technology officer. “The Learning Wi-Fi service provides commercial wireless internet to students, so they’re able to access their course curriculum from their personal devices.”

The proof-of-concept proved that students benefited from the AFNet-like network, which allotted them access to their course curriculum and training tools. Phase 1 of the LWS integration included areas such as classrooms, indoor and outdoor training areas, libraries and more. Keesler is now going into phase 2, which will expand the Wi-Fi service network to be able to reach student common areas. 

“Phase 1 introduced this ecosystem that allows airmen to learn on devices that they’re familiar with,” said Jose Fuertes, Second Air Force cyber policy and strategy planner. “It only made sense to expand the network to reach the student dormitories, now they’ll always be tethered to the information we need them to have no matter where they are.”

LWS allows instructors to be fluid and flexible in the way they train their Airmen in and out of the classroom.

“A lot of these new curriculums are cloud based,” said Matheu. “We can now give students full time access to the cloud without sacrificing the security of the Air Force network making learning opportunities unlimited with LWS as the foundation.”

The installation of LWS is just one example of how the Air Education Training Command has been proactive in their approach to advance force development and accelerate capability standards for training.

“LWS is necessary for us to grow this new education ecosystem,” said Fuertes. “We’re changing the training environment to tailor to the new generation of Airmen coming in.”