Nokia Networks has built a proof of concept with unmanned aerial vehicles for automated mobile network testing and analysis, in the hopes the tasks can be performed faster and more efficiently than using human engineers.
The Finnish telco equipment supplier used the drones, loaded with testing equipment, to analyse part of Dubai carrier Du's network.
Nokia's drones were used to test performance at the Dubai Sports City Stadium and inspect cell site towers, line-of-sight obstacles and radio planning, with data sent automatically back to the company's global delivery centre for analysis and optimisations.
According to Nokia, using drones brings a number of advantages: they are faster than humans, can cover more ground area, and reduce the amount of times technicians have to climb up and down cell site towers, a traditionally dangerous task.
They also allow engineers on the ground to view the results from the network testing on their smartphones: the drones can film tower installations and help supervise them remotely.
Nokia used drones from DroneWorks FZ, made by South African company Secutronic, carrying equipment from Ascom Network Testing, for the project.