Network Quality Sensor for Aerial Measurements
inUAVi was created to address the need for advanced measurements at altitude using UAVs and other aerospace platforms such as fixed wing. Providing lightweight and highly integrated technologies, inUAVi is developing payloads and applications that formerly required heavy ground-based instruments and large power sources to operate. Key to inUAVi sensors are the applications. These portable applications running on common iOS platform automate formerly complicated measurements and place the results firmly in the palm of your hand.
Characterizing network quality to understand the customer experience through the collection of location-based, demodulated LTE/UMTS data
Service providers have to deal with customer complaints of dropped calls, poor throughput or dead spots in specific areas. This can be the result of inadequate coverage, congestion or signal interference where multiple physical channels compete for dominance. The inUAVi sensor provides real-time RF parameter mapping of both the serving and neighbor cells, enabling the service provider to quickly determine the root cause and source of the issue.
Consider the work involved in deploying a temporary site for a special event or disaster recovery – the service provider must verify the overall coverage and optimize the network assets to eliminate dead spots and minimize the overlapping of beams. Current practice involves drive test equipment in back packs or golf carts, a resource intensive and time consuming process. The inUAVi solution is completely autonomous, faster at collection and provides real-time analysis and visual representation of network performance.
Characterizing a location for new network assets
The inUAVi sensor is a perfect tool for verifying donor site strength for repeaters. During repeater installation, the goal is to orient the donor antenna for the optimum signal to ensure strong dominance when many signals are present. The inUAVi solution can be used to quickly perform a 360 degree sweep to collect data for all of the available channels at the location of interest including channel strength and heading, allowing the operator to determine the optimum site to point the donor antenna towards. During data collection, the inUAVi solution simultaneously provides enhanced images and video of the proposed location (for example rooftop) to determine where the mounts will be installed and how the cables will be run.
Determining Antenna Alignment
When installing an antenna, the antenna heading and tilt are currently aligned referencing the radome of the antenna itself. However, signal properties can be manipulated through electrical tilt, altered by their environment due to the structures surrounding them or be internally misaligned due to manufacturing variances. Simply pointing the radome towards the intended target does not guarantee the alignment of the beam. The inUAVi solution performs an automated, constant radius flight of cm accuracy, analyzing the beam itself and quickly determining the precise heading and tilt in a matter of minutes. Service teams would be able to characterize antennas much faster and determine whether they even have to mechanically service the antenna prior to climbing the tower.
More capabilities in the pipeline
Deploying a network is complex, resource intensive and expensive. The inUAVi development team is adding new features to its aerial solution, both hardware and software to perform more measurements and provide more real-time insight with the goal of helping service providers reduce the time and cost required to deploy and maintain network assets. Current trends show an increasing number of connected devices and drones will soon be performing commercial duties while communicating over the network. Coverage will soon be required in the air, not just at ground level and in buildings. inUAVi is positioned to become an important technology partner for the network of the future.
inUAVi is currently marketing its Network Quality Sensor for aerial measurements, a solution based on proprietary technology to analyze location-based, demodulated LTE/UMTS parameters to emulate the customer experience. The autonomous system renders a visual representation of network performance in real-time, identifying dead spots, overlapping beams and competing physical channels to determine the root cause and source of signal issues. The system can also characterize antennas for proper alignment, often eliminating the need to climb towers. inUAVi is also developing a spectral analysis sensor to perform interference hunting and other critical measurements to help operators maintain peak performance from their network assets.