Thursday, July 9, 2015

Nokia Networks Tests Drones for Network Inspections

Nokia Network is testing unmanned aerial vehicles (drones) carrying smartphones with cameras and testing applications to inspect and survey mobile infrastructure.

Nokia recently conducted a test of these telco drones in partnership with Du at the Dubai International Stadium, Dubai Sports City, which has a seating capacity of 25,000 people. The Proof of Concept (PoC) gathered network data and provided Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) for a speedy performance test and efficient network optimization actions. Telco drones were also used for tower inspections, radio planning and Line of Sight (LoS) testing between radio towers.

Automated testing and analysis is more efficient than traditional manual walk tests, as drones can cover the desired area quicker. Additionally, the test data is collected automatically and sent to a server so that it can be instantly processed at Nokia Networks’ Global Delivery Center (GDC) for immediate reporting and any necessary actions to improve network performance.

Telco drones were also used for tower inspections to reduce the number of times technicians need to climb up and down a telecom tower, as well as for radio planning and Line of Sight (LoS) testing. The engineers knew if a frequency used was impacted by trees, if there was sufficient power to cover the distance, what the simulated latency would look like and what performance over such a connection could be expected. This helped achieve optimal site design, establish a clear LoS, as well as suitable antenna height and site location.

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