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AT&T Tests Drone Performance on LTE Networks

Carrier wants to better understand how UASs can benefit from the connectivity

LOS ANGELES � In Digital Radio Update, I have lamented that using �mobile� technology to reach listeners requires users to contend against others for network resources,�as opposed to the �one-to-many� method of�FM and AM terrestrial broadcasts.�

Now, we�re learning about one more device type that will compete for our listeners: AT&T has partnered with Qualcomm to analyze how drones (unmanned aircraft systems) can operate safely and securely on current commercial LTE networks and networks of the future, including 5G.

Many companies, including AT&T, already use drones to inspect towers and to better understand network performance. Others are using drones to inspect power lines, pipe lines and roofs for insurance purposes. AT&T wants to better understand not only how it can use drones internally but how drones can benefit from the connectivity provided by AT&T, according toFierce Wireless.

AT&T�s networks are �configurable� and optimized for ground users, so part of the research will see if there is further optimization to be done to better serve the drones. Simulations also will be used to see what happens when drones are deployed at scale � in other words, what, if any, cumulative effects result�when an enterprise tries to deploy�a lot of drones simultaneously?�

I, for one, wish AT&T would �configure� their LTE networks to work better on the rooftops of tall buildings and mountaintop transmitter sites.�