Thursday, October 6, 2016

Verizon Sets Path for Airborne LTE Operations

Verizon outlined its Airborne LTE Operations (ALO) initiative, which aims to drive innovation and wide-spread adoption for in-flight wireless connectivity .

The plan includes:

  • The successful completion of technical trials in various locations across the country using a combination of unmanned and manned aircraft on Verizon’s 4G LTE network.
  • An early adopter simulation exercise in Cape May, New Jersey using unmanned aircraft systems (UASs) to demonstrate how Verizon’s 4G LTE network can help first responders and emergency management personnel enhance disaster recovery efforts.
  • The launch of a new suite of services as early as 2017 on Verizon’s ThingSpace IoT platform to help developers and businesses create and manage a wide-range of ALO-enabled applications simply backed by secure cloud and analytics capabilities.
  • A new device certification process, now available, that sets forth requirements to enable access to wireless connectivity for unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) and unmanned aerial systems (UAS) on Verizon’s 4G LTE network.
  • Collaboration with innovative partners such as American Aerospace (AATI) and Sierra Wireless to pave the way for aerial long-range applications beyond line of sight.
  • Air: the next frontier for the IoT

Verizon said its network team began work to develop the technology for in-flight LTE operations in 2014 and throughout 2015.

Earlier this year, the team engaged with American Aerospace Technologies Inc. (AATI) to test connectivity between aerial platforms and the Verizon 4G LTE network. The initial controlled trial was conducted with a 17-foot wingspan unmanned aircraft system in conjunction with AATI. The aerial platform tested advanced aerial inspection techniques that can be applied not just to the hundreds of miles of pipeline in rural Virginia, but also nationwide while connecting to Verizon’s 4G LTE network. As a result of the successful trial, Verizon deemed its 4G LTE 700 MHz network safe for in-flight wireless connectivity, which led to the creation of device and service requirements as part of Verizon’s ALO initiative.

Together with AATI, Verizon is also exploring next steps in in-flight cellular services for UAVs nationally on its 4G LTE network. Once federal regulations allow UAV operation beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS), new tests will focus on BVLOS command-and-control cellular network communications for long-distance UAVs.

“This latest trial demonstrated how emerging technology combined with wireless networks can improve safety and security,” said Mike Haberman, vice president, Network Operations, Verizon. “A nationwide reliable 4G LTE network is the foundation for the future of mobile IoT in the air.”


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