Nokia, Rohde & Schwarz to develop 5G test drone

Electronics giant Nokia has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with test equipment maker Rohde & Schwarz for the testing of 5G networks using drones.

Under the MoU, Rohde & Schwarz will embed its 5G network measurement technology into the Nokia Drone Networks platform.

Enterprises currently use drones for activities like remote site inspections, and to enhance security at remote or large campuses.

Nokia and Rohde & Schwarz say these same inspection drones could also to collect performance data about their private networks even in Beyond-line-of-sight (BLOS) scenarios.

Rohde & Schwarz called it 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 utilization.”

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

The two companies will begin by collaborating on a prototype that integrates Rohde & Schwarz’s mobile network measurement and troubleshooting capabilities directly into the Nokia drone. The prototype will allow for the collecting of data and measurement of the outdoor or underground network experience and quality in real time.

Currently this information can only be accessed by using a QualiPoc Android empowered smartphone device attached to a drone as payload. The software-embedded solution will reduce the drone weight for these activities, resulting in lower power consumption and longer flight times, the companies said.