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Samsung shows a way to use drones and AI to maintain 5G towers

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Last updated: June 23rd, 2020 at 06:23 UTC+02:00

Samsung has found a new way to use drones and an AI-based solution to configure 4G and 5G antennas for network performance optimization. The company successfully demonstrated its new drone-based antenna configuration mechanism on one of its campuses. This solution will offer network operators an easier way to manage cell sites, optimize network performance, and improve employee safety.

A network engineer can use the new solution to stay on the ground and use a smartphone to operate a camera-equipped drone for capturing images and videos of 4G or 5G antennas. Such antennas are usually installed on towers or rooftops of tall buildings. The visual data can be sent to cloud servers within seconds, and deep learning can be used to instantly verify the azimuth, rotation, and tilt of the antennas to check if they’re in a correct position.

In Samsung’s demonstration, it took less than a minute for an engineer to transmit the visual data of the antennas to the cloud, process the results, and view results on-site in real-time on a smartphone screen. The whole process, including flying a drone, capturing visuals, processing data, and adjusting antennas, can be done within a span of fifteen minutes. In comparison, climbing a cell tower and doing all the tasks manually can take hours, and the process isn’t safe.

The South Korean firm also said that it is planning to add more technologies such as a way to allow engineers to remotely adjust an antenna’s angles using a PC or a smartphone for optimal position and higher performance. The drone-based and AI-backed solution demonstrated by Samsung shows how network operators can improve the safety of their employees as well as network performance.

Samsung said in a press release that its drone-based solution to audit network cell sites will launch later this year. The company provides end-to-end 4G and 5G solutions, including chipsets, radio, and core network equipment to telecom operators around the world. Its solutions include the delivery of 5G networks through both mid-band (2.5GHz/3.5GHz) and mmWave frequencies (28GHz/39GHz). It is already working with telecom firms in Japan, South Korea, and the US on 5G networks.

Samsung 5G Base Station Suwon South Korea

Sohyong Chong, VP and Head of Network Automation, Networks Business at Samsung Electronics, 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. 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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