September 13, 2016 –
Qualcomm and AT&T will test drones on commercial LTE networks in an effort to analyze how they can operate safely and more securely, it was announced during last week’s CTIA Super Mobility Week.
The team will look at coverage, signal, strength and mobility across network cells as well as how the drones function in flight. The goal of the trials and ongoing research is to help enable future drone operations, such as Beyond Visual Line of Sight (BVLOS), when regulations allow. The ability permit to fly beyond an operator’s visual range could enable successful delivery, remote inspection and exploration. Wireless technology can bring many advantages to drones such as ubiquitous coverage, high-speed mobile support, security, reliability and quality of service.
“Not only do we aim to analyze wide-scalable LTE optimization for safe, legal commercial small unmanned aircraft systems (SUAS) use cases with beyond line-of-sight connectivity, but the results can help inform positive developments in drone regulations and 5G specifications as they pertain to wide-scale deployment of numerous drone use cases.” said Matt Grob, executive vice president and chief technology officer, Qualcomm Technologies.
Back in February, AT&T and Intel agreed to do many of the same tests that AT&T will be executing with Qualcomm. The AT&T Internet of Things team and the AT&T Foundry innovation center in Palo Alto, Calif., will be working with Intel to evaluate performance of the LTE network at higher altitudes to see how it affects video streaming, transmitting telematics and flight information.
“Connecting drones over the network will help address many challenges the category faces, including safety and security concerns, real time communications, potential interference with manned aircraft and supporting future capabilities (such as beyond line of sight), as they are approved by the FAA,” the carrier said in a press release.
By Ernest Worthman…
The idea that a SIM card is the intelligence in a cellular infrastructure was a stroke of genius. It makes changing out devices, roaming across networks and access control a truly beautiful thing. So, it makes sense that this model is being adapted to carrier Wi-Fi hotspots.
Iteration 2.0 of the Wi-Fi hotspot technology is being rolled out with promising results. They are able to use the cellular SIM cards to authenticate and logon, providing a seamless experience similar to the experience in a roaming cellular network.
Reports are starting to come in about carriers who have implemented this technology seeing amazing increases in statistic. At least one Tier 1 mobile carrier has seen its monthly Wi-Fi sessions explode.
This carrier reports an increase of nearly 20 times the number of monthly Wi-Fi sessions in the first two years, according to RCR News, and more than 10 times the number of Wi-Fi users per month in three years. The hotspot authentication process relies on the device’s own SIM card for authentication rather than having to log in, making the transition seamless.
What is interesting about this is that many of the devices that successfully roam do not, natively, support SIM Wi-Fi authentication. It appears that this carrier has come up with a success formula that works with seemingly incompatible hardware.
It stands to reason that users will flock to systems that allow Wi-Fi roaming. It means they will have a much better customer experience, which will, in turn, increase usage and perhaps offer the carrier some opportunity to generate revenue. With seamless Wi-Fi roaming, there is belief that users will accept some sort of advertising across the network to be able to stay connected while roaming. This has not been tried yet but the concept is on the table.
The anonymous carrier has seen a 10-fold increase in sessions – 500,000 to 5 million in the first year. The second year that doubled to 10 million. When its third year has been analyzed at the end of this month, it expects the number to double again, to 20 million sessions per month.
If these numbers are indeed true, and there is no real reason to doubt them, the predictions that carrier Wi-Fi SIM authenticated session will have an annual growth rate of 1,000 percent or more as other carriers adopt the model. And, according to Torbjorn Ward, Aptilo Networks’ CEO, in a statement. “We are seeing more and more carriers leveraging mobile data offloading with SIM authentication to generate revenue. Seamless Wi-Fi offloading combined with a carrier-class Wi-Fi service is becoming the gold standard for mobile operators worldwide.
As the wireless world hurtles toward the high-speed data future, there will be a dramatic increase in the number and types of antenna/tower sites required. How can carriers and tower owners meet the demand? Distributed antenna systems (DAS) will play an ever increasing role. What are the challenges and opportunities in deploying DAS? And how can carriers and tower operators meet the backhaul capabilities required by a staggering increase in digital traffic?