Nokia and EE - pushing the limits of technology with drones
But what about the mobile communications industry? Can we use drones’ unique abilities to access hard-to-reach areas to enhance mobile networks or to create additional or replacement coverage in a crisis?
A first of its kind demo in Scotland this summer showed what can be achieved. The trial, conducted by EE and Nokia, used a drone to carry a tiny base station to remote areas around Inverness. Weighing in at only 2 kg, the Nokia Flexi Zone Pico cell has all the punch of LTE in a very compact package, allowing 4G services to be provided wherever a drone can reach.
If integration to an existing core is needed, Nokia has also tested the backhaul of a standard small cell with the EE core via satellite. What’s more, the solution makes use of the recently launched Ultra Compact Network, a deployable system which combines a small cell with an embedded LTE core network resulting in a very compact and flexible solution.
Need temporary 4G coverage?
This creates a whole new dimension for network operators, allowing them to provide temporary 4G coverage in underserved areas or to quickly expand capacity at large events.
When I spoke to Mansoor Hanif, Director of Radio Access Network at EE, he was very enthusiastic about the possibilities, saying that drones, combined with innovations in base station technology, have the potential to bring 4G to even the most remote areas. He is keen for EE to work with Nokia to evaluate alternative 4G coverage deployment methods around the UK.
In a world where even mobile base stations are mobile, the possibilities for coverage are now surely endless.
Visit our website for more on Nokia’s small cell portfolio
Share your thoughts on this topic by replying below – or join the Twitter discussion with @nokianetworks or @nokia using #LTE #smallcells