Nokia and R&S explore drone network measurements

  • December 14, 2022
  • Steve Rogerson

Nokia and Rohde & Schwarz are combining technologies to expand the use cases for drones to provide deeper knowledge around wireless network coverage and performance.

The two companies have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to embed Rohde & Schwarz’s, QualiPoc 4.9G/LTE and 5G network measurement capabilities into the Nokia drone networks platform.

The network measurement technology will target communication service providers (CSPs), private wireless partners and enterprises.

Nokia and German company Rohde & Schwarz will jointly work on a prototype that integrates mobile network measurement and troubleshooting capabilities using QualiPoc software from Rohde & Schwarz, embedded directly into the Nokia drone, connected to the MX Industrial Edge (MXIE) over the DAC digital automated cloud.

This will enable early trials for customers such as port authorities or in the mining industry to collect data and measure the outdoor or underground network experience and quality in real time.

Currently this information can be accessed by using a QualiPoc Android empowered smartphone device attached to a drone as payload. With embedded software, Nokia and Rohde & Schwarz aim to reduce the drone weight for these activities, resulting in lower power consumption and longer flight times, for more efficient and sustainable operations.

Enterprises currently leverage unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) such as drones for activities such as remote site inspections, and to enhance security at remote or large campuses. By exploring the feasibility to embed QualiPoc capabilities as a software application into Nokia drones and MXIE, Nokia and Rohde & Schwarz will enable enterprises to use their site inspection drones to collect performance data about their private networks even in beyond-line-of-sight (BLOS) scenarios.

This should facilitate decision-making about future use cases in Industry 4.0, ports, mines and others such as network planning optimisation of connected assets, safety or surveillance.

“We are excited to cooperate with Nokia, a leader in private wireless, to create the first software-embedded network measurement capabilities within a UAV,” said Massimiliano Mannelli, senior director at Rohde & Schwarz. “Using QualiPoc, our field-proven RF and performance testing software, embedded will enable new use cases for CSPs, enterprises and private wireless indirect channel partners.”

Thomas Eder, head of embedded wireless at Nokia, added: “Our work with Rohde & Schwarz demonstrates how, using Nokia drone networks, enterprises can leverage the reliability, security and low latency enabled by private wireless and the industrial edge cloud. By consuming Rohde & Schwarz QualiPoc and SmartMonitor in this way, customers can increase the value of their existing Nokia drone network deployments and leverage a high level of automation to gain real-time data for tasks such as network performance assessments.”