du, Nokia Networks Use 'Telco Drones' for Radio Planning and Line of Sight Testing

du, the United Arab Emirates' second-largest operator and Nokia Networks in partnership with Ascom Network Testing and DroneWorks, have jointly conducted a Proof of Concept (PoC) testing which saw the use of drones to help network planning and optimization. The PoC involved the use of drones from Secutronic to carry smartphones with network testing applications to analyze du's network.

According to Nokia Networks, the smartphones were pre-installed with the TEMS™ Pocket software from Ascom Network Testing and were tested at the Dubai International Stadium, Dubai Sports City, which has a seating capacity of 25,000 people. 

According to Nokia Networks, the drone assisted PoC gathered network data and provided Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) for a speedy performance test and efficient network optimization actions. The telco drones were also used for tower inspections, radio planning and Line of Sight (LoS) testing between radio towers to achieve an optimal site design, establish a clear LoS and determine antenna heights and site locations. Nokia Networks said the 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, added Nokia Networks.

Marwan BinShakar, VP, Mobile Access Network & Operations, du
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, du Customer Team, Nokia Networks
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.


Ray is a news editor at The Fast Mode, bringing with him more than 10 years of experience in the wireless industry.

For tips and feedback, email Ray at ray.sharma(at)thefastmode.com, or reach him on LinkedIn @raysharma10, Facebook @1RaySharma


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