It’s about time that the phone met the drone, considering that the world appears to have gone drone crazy recently (yes Amazon, you as well). They might not be the first to deploy drones, but Nokia and UAE operator du have certainly beaten their competitors with a press announcement.
Nokia Networks and du employed drones carrying smartphones with network testing applications to analyse du's network at the Dubai International Stadium. The Proof of Concept gathered network data and provided KPIs for rapid performance test and network optimisation actions. Drones were also used for tower inspections, radio planning and line of sight testing between radio towers.
“Drones are becoming a common phenomenon across the world and multiple sectors are embracing the benefits drones bring such as faster deliveries in logistics or delivering emergency services in health care,” explained Tony Awad, head of the du customer team, Nokia Networks. “In the telecoms sector, certain operators have already embraced the use of drones for telecom tower audits, and we are proud to be able to demonstrate multiple use cases using drones with du in the UAE. With the use of drones we continue to bring innovation and automation into our service delivery to make our networks even more efficient and reliable."
Nokia says that 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’s Global Delivery Centre 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. Drones can also help supervise the quality of installation by remotely monitoring the installation via wireless video streaming.
"Innovation is the lifeblood of the UAE's smart city future, and we are proud to successfully demonstrate our network capabilities,” said Marwan Bin Shakar, VP mobile access network & operations at du. “We are satisfied with the results from the use of drones for network planning, as well as for radio planning and tower inspection which will result in greater efficiency and improved safety."
The drones were also used for radio planning and line of sight testing, looking at the impact of obstacles such as trees and determining the resulting latency, helping evaluate suitable antenna heights and site locations.
Drones were supplied by Secutronic, and the mounted smartphones were pre-installed with TEMS software from Ascom Network Testing.
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