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Nokia and Rohde & Schwarz jointly explore feasibility of drone-based network measurement solution

Nokia has signed an agreement with network measurement technology provider Rohde & Schwarz to embed QualiPoc 4.9G/LTE and 5G network measurement capabilities into the Nokia Drone Networks platform.

The companies say this is the “first software-embedded solution of its kind” and will expand the use cases for drones to provide communication service providers (CPS), private wireless partners and enterprises with deeper knowledge around their wireless network coverage and performance for more efficient utilisation.

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

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 a software-embedded solution, Nokia and Rohde & Schwarz aim at reducing 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 like 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 also to collect performance data about their private networks even in Beyond-line-of-sight (BLOS) scenarios.

This will 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.

Massimiliano Mannelli, senior director of product management and portfolio strategy at Rohde & Schwarz mobile network testing, says: “We are excited to cooperate with Nokia, a leader in private wireless, to create the first software-embedded network measurement capabilities within a UAV.

“Using QualiPoc, our field-proven RF and performance testing software, as embedded solution will enable new use cases for CSPs, enterprises and private wireless indirect channel partners.”

Thomas Eder, Head of Embedded Wireless Solutions at Nokia, says: “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.”

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