Can drone help in surveillance & maintenance of 5G towers !

drones

In the demonstration, an engineer on the ground used a smartphone with a remote control application to fly a camera-equipped drone that captured photos of the antennas installed on a building’s rooftop. The visual data was viewable via the engineer’s smartphone and then was transmitted to a cloud server within seconds. The deep learning-based artificial intelligence (AI) solution instantly verified the rotation and tilt of the antennas, so that the engineers could determine if the antennas were installed correctly at predefined optimal angles.

 "As the number of 5G network sites grows, there has been a heightened focus on network performance by operators, and we are seeing an increased market demand for intelligent solutions for site maintenance," said Sohyong Chong, vice president and head of network automation, networks business at Samsung Electronics, in a statement. 

It took less than a minute to transmit the data and process the results, enabling the engineer to view results on-site in real-time on the smartphone screen. The demonstration verified that Samsung’s solution can accomplish the task within 15 minutes – starting from flying the drone to the delivery of measurement results. This compares to the several hours it can take for a tower climber to prepare, climb up and down a cell tower, and measure antenna configurations.

Concept & Ideology

Deep learning, artificial intelligence (AI) solution then verifies the rotation and tilt of the antennas, allowing engineers to determine whether the antennas have been installed correctly at predefined optimal angles. The automated solution will give operators a more efficient way to manage cell cites, improve worker safety, and optimize network performance, Samsung said Cellular antennas are usually installed at great heights on towers and rooftops. When the antenna needs maintenance, field engineers have to climb up these tall cell towers. By using drones to maintain towers, Samsung aims to offer operators an easier way to manage cell sites, increase employee safety, and improve network performance. 

Drastic improvements

Samsung is a pioneer in the successful delivery of 5G end-to-end solutions ranging from the chipset, radio, and core network to cloud platforms for both mid-band (2.5GHz/3.5GHz) and mmWave (28GHz/39GHz) frequencies. The company has been supporting 5G commercial services in leading markets, including Korea, the U.S., and more recently Japan, where the majority of worldwide 5G subscribers are currently located. The solution’s safety benefits will be especially helpful during site audit and maintenance in the U.S., which often requires two field personnel to be dispatched to a site to audit or adjust the antenna angles — and requires climbs that use more advanced safety training.

Conclusion

According to Samsung, this method is far more convenient compared to the several hours it would take for an engineer to prepare and go up and down towers to measure antenna configurations. The drone will also increase worker safety as engineers typically need to carry heavy equipment and climb up to high latitude cell sites. This will be especially helpful in the US where companies usually require two personnel to be dispatched to audit and adjust antenna angles. Samsung said that the system, which it demonstrated at its campus, lets field engineers use smartphones to remotely fly a camera-equipped drone that can take pictures of the tower's antenna. AI then verifies the position of the antenna making sure it's been installed correctly at the right rotation and tilt.