Verizon uses different types of drones for network performance

Via Verizon Wireless Newsroom

Oct 31, 2016

Verizon put new drone technology into action in October with three different use cases of the unmanned aerial systems or UAS to enhance network performance and reliability. Here is a closer look at the network activities and a comparison of the types of drones used.

Delivering 4G LTE service from the air

An unmanned aircraft system (UAS) was used at Cape May Airport, N.J. to test delivering 4G LTE network coverage from the drone itself, as essentially a small cell site in the sky. This was the first-ever test with Verizon’s Airborne LTE Operations (ALO) during an emergency management and disaster recovery exercise. The successful test proved that 4G LTE coverage can be provided from an aircraft to first-responders in the event no traditional service is available.

  • The test used a 17-foot wingspan RS-20 UAS, owned and operated by American Aerospace Technologies, Inc. (AATI) with pilots controlling it from the ground.
  • With FAA authorization* the UAS was approved to fly up to 7,500 feet (but was tested with Verizon’s network at 3,000 feet and below). The aircraft is capable of flying up to 22,000 feet.
  • The UAS can fly 12-16 hours at a time.
  • With a weight of 165 lbs. the UAS can fly in windy weather conditions.
  • The UAS live streams imagery of the ground to emergency personnel.
  • The UAS is connected back to Verizon’s network, not for piloting, but for providing a 4G LTE signal to emergency personnel through the aircraft.
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