In yet another noteworthy step toward a smart city future, Nokia Networks and du, the Middle East’s fastest growing telecommunications service provider, 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) 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. It is especially important when weather conditions make climbing too dangerous.
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.
The drones were also used 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.
Solution details at a glance:
In the PoC, these demonstrations were carried out in close collaboration with Nokia Networks’ partners Dubai Sports City, Ascom Network Testing, DroneWorks FZ LLC, and Secutronic FZE.
Smartphones pre-installed with the TEMS™ Pocket software from Ascom Network Testing
High-capability drones from Secutronic were used: INSPIRE1 for network optimization at the stadium, and MICRODRONES md4-1000 for tower inspection, LoS and radio site planning
Wireless video broadcast camera were used from m-View Live Video Pty Ltd for remote monitoring
Marwan BinShakar, Vice President – Mobile Access Network & Operations at du, said:
“Innovation is the lifeblood of the UAE’s smart city future, and we are proud to successfully demonstrate our network capabilities. Together with Nokia Networks, we are satisfied with the results from the use of drones for network planning and faster optimization in specific location at Dubai International Stadium, as well as for radio planning and tower inspection which will result in greater efficiency and improved safety.”
Tony Awad, Head of du Customer Team, Nokia Networks, said:
“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. 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.”