Video: Using AI and drones to manage 5G infrastructure

26 June 2020

Samsung Electronics has demonstrated a new drone-based antenna configuration solution for 4G and 5G networks to manage cell sites, improve employee safety and optimize performance.

In the demonstration, a Samsung engineer on the ground used a smartphone with a remote control application to fly a camera-equipped drone to capture photos of antennas installed on building’s rooftops and transmit the information to a cloud server in seconds. Using deep learning artificial intelligence verified the rotation and tilt of antennas to determine if they were installed correctly and at the right predefined optimal angles.

Samsung said it look only a minute to transmit data and process the results for the engineer to view the data on-site in real-time on a smartphone. The entire test took place in 15 minutes from flying the drone to the delivery of measurement results. This is compared to several hours it takes for a tower climber to prepare, climb up and down a cell tower and measure antenna configurations.

The new solution will continue to add features that will allow engineers to remotely adjust the antenna tilts to its optimal position from a mobile device and PC.

Typically, cellular antennas are installed at significant heights on cell towers or roofs for optimal coverage. Generally, engineers need to carry heavy equipment to climb up cell sites to measure antenna configurations. This is not just time consuming but also brings risk to those having to make the measurements. Using a drone is far safer to the human engineers and can be done in a fraction of the time, Samsung said.

“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, VP and head of network automation, networks business at Samsung Electronics, in a statement. “Once this solution launches globally later this year, it will offer a safer, more cost-effective and convenient way to satisfy market demands, leveraging our unique capabilities in combining the latest technologies—drones, AI and 5G.”

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