Signals Ahead: LTE and Drones Benchmark

  • ID: 4240714
  • Report
  • Region: Global
  • 48 Pages
  • Signals Research Group, LLC
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Keeping up with the Jetsons - A benchmark Study of how LTE Networks Enable the Command and Control of Drones

FEATURED COMPANIES

  • 3DVistas
  • AT&T
  • Rohde & Schwarz
  • T-Mobile
  • UAS Colorado
  • Verizon
  • MORE

In this Signals Ahead report we provide results from the industry's first independent and in-depth analysis of LTE and its ability to provide command and control (C2) for drones. For this study, we tested the four major US mobile operators.
      
Highlights of the Report include the following:

Our Thanks

This study could not have been done without the support of Rohde & Schwarz who provided us with its TSMA scanner and post-processing software. Additional thanks to UAS Colorado and 3DVistas who provided and piloted the drone used in the study.

Our Approach

We used the R&S scanner to capture downlink parameters (RSRP, RSRQ, SINR) at various elevations up to 400 ft. and in different morphologies. We also conducted some limited flight tests when permissible. Our tests involved all four major US operators and frequency bands from 731.5 MHz to 2150 MHz. Although the uplink (drone to cell tower) could require high bandwidth for certain applications, like streaming video, the downlink is critical for command of the drone.

The Results

At a high level (pun intended), the networks performed better than we initially thought for some bands, but there are significant design considerations for both the eNB antenna system and the UAS antenna system. Further, there are likely changes to the standard that are required to ensure optimal and reliable performance while not degrading the terrestrial cellular network.

*Signals Ahead Subscription Information

This report is included as part of a subscription to Signals Ahead or it can be purchased separately.

Signals Ahead is a research-focused product that is published on a periodic basis. Its clientele include all facets of the wireless ecosystem, including some of the largest mobile operators, the top handset suppliers, the major infrastructure vendors, subsystem suppliers, semiconductor companies and financial institutions, including Wall Street, Private Equity and Venture Capitalists, spread across five continent

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FEATURED COMPANIES

  • 3DVistas
  • AT&T
  • Rohde & Schwarz
  • T-Mobile
  • UAS Colorado
  • Verizon
  • MORE

1.0 Executive Summary
2.0 Key Observations
3.0 Background and Technical Primer
3.1 Antennas
4.0 Detailed Analysis
4.1 Park Testing - Suburban Morphology
4.2 Church Testing - Dense Suburban Morphology
5.0 Test Methodology
6.0 Final Thoughts
7.0 Appendix

List of Figures

Figure 1. Cell Site & Drone Testing Locations
Figure 2. US National Airspace System
Figure 3. Vertical Antenna Pattern
Figure 4. Mechanical & Electrical Downtilt Comparison
Figure 5. Map of Park Testing - Boulder, CO
Figure 6. Vertical Snapshot of Best Signal
Figure 7. SINR, RSRQ and RSRP Values for Each Operator’s Best Performing Frequency Band - 0 ft. AGL
Figure 8. SINR, RSRQ and RSRP Values for Each Operator’s Best Performing Frequency Band - 100 ft. AGL
Figure 9. SINR, RSRQ and RSRP Values for Each Operator’s Best Performing Frequency Band - 400 ft. AGL
Figure 10. Spectrum Sweep - Park Testing at 0 ft. AGL
Figure 11. Spectrum Sweep - Park Testing at 50 ft. AGL
Figure 12. Spectrum Sweep - Park Testing at 100 ft. AGL
Figure 13. Spectrum Sweep - Park Testing at 200 ft. AGL
Figure 14. Spectrum Sweep - Park Testing at 300 ft. AGL
Figure 15. Spectrum Sweep - Park Testing at 400 ft. AGL
Figure 16. RSRP, RSRQ and SINR versus Elevation - Verizon Wireless Network in Band 13
Figure 17. Verizon Wireless 700 MHz Outage Probability
Figure 18. RSRP, RSRQ and SINR versus Elevation - AT&T Network in Band 4
Figure 19. AT&T AWS Outage Probability
Figure 20. RSRP, RSRQ and SINR versus Elevation - T-Mobile Network in Band 4
Figure 21. T-Mobile AWS Outage Probability
Figure 22. Geo Plot of SINR - Sprint 1900 MHz
Figure 23. Geo Plot of SINR - T-Mobile 2100 MHz
Figure 24. Geo Plot of SINR - AT&T 2100 MHz
Figure 25. Geo Plot of SINR - Verizon Wireless 700 MHz
Figure 26. AT&T Co-Located CA Site
Figure 27. Church Test Location
Figure 28. View from 400 ft. AGL
Figure 29. Church 0 ft. AGL Spectrum
Figure 30. Church 50 ft. AGL Spectrum
Figure 31. T-Mobile Co-located Site
Figure 32. T-Mobile 3 Bands Co-located Performance
Figure 33. RSRP from 0 to 275 feet AGL
Figure 34. Sprint Flight Path SINR at Church
Figure 35. T-Mobile Flight Path SINR at Church
Figure 36. Verizon Flight Path SINR at Church
Figure 37. AT&T Flight Path SINR at Church
Figure 38. Rural Drone Location
Figure 39. RSRP, RSRQ and SINR versus Elevation - AT&T Network in Band 17
Figure 40. AT&T 700 MHz Network Outage Probability Curves - North Boulder
Figure 41. T-Mobile 700 MHz Network Outage Probability Curves - North Boulder
Figure 42. R&S TSMA
Figure 43. Test Drone with TSMA Attached
Figure 44. Drone flying with TSMA Scanner
Figure 45. SINR, RSRQ and RSRP Values for Each Operator’s Best Performing Frequency Band - 50 ft. AGL
Figure 46. SINR, RSRQ and RSRP Values for Each Operator’s Best Performing Frequency Band - 200 ft. AGL
Figure 47. SINR, RSRQ and RSRP Values for Each Operator’s Best Performing Frequency Band - 300 ft. AGL

List of Tables

Table 1. FAA UAS Sales Forecast
Table 2. RF Signal Quality
Table 3. PCIs Observed in Park Testing

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  • 3DVistas
  • AT&T
  • Rohde & Schwarz
  • T-Mobile
  • UAS Colorado
  • Verizon
Note: Product cover images may vary from those shown
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