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UAE telco, Nokia use smartphone-carrying drones in test trial

July 7, 2015  

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Nokia Networks and du, a Middle East telecommunications service provider, today said they successfully employed drones carrying smartphones with network testing applications to analyze du’s network.

The test was carried out 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). Telco drones were also used for tower inspections, radio planning and Line of Sight (LoS) testing between radio towers.

According to Nokia, automated testing and analysis is more efficient than traditional manual walk tests, as drones can cover the desired area quicker. In this instance, the test data was collected automatically and sent to a server so that it coud be instantly processed at Nokia Networks’ Global Delivery Centre (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.

“It is especially important when weather conditions make climbing too dangerous,” Nokia said in a release. “This method delivers a high-quality site audit with unique and detailed panoramic and top-down views of the lattice tower captured in one pass. Drones can also help supervise the quality of installation by remotely monitoring the installation via wireless video streaming.