Verizon put new drone technology into action in October to enhance network performance and reliability.
Delivering 4G LTE service from the air
An unmanned aircraft system (UAS) was used at Cape May Airport, N.J. to test delivering 4G LTE network coverage from the drone itself, as essentially a small cell site in the sky. This was the first-ever test with Verizon’s Airborne LTE Operations during an emergency management and disaster recovery exercise.
The successful test proved that 4G LTE coverage can be provided from an aircraft to first-responders in the event no traditional service is available.
The test used a 17-foot wingspan RS-20 UAS, owned and operated by American Aerospace Technologies, Inc. (AATI) with pilots controlling it from the ground. The UAS can fly 12-16 hours at a time.
Cell tower and venue inspections
Small-unmanned aircraft systems (sUAS) were used to conduct cell site inspections in the Carolinas in the wake of Hurricane Matthew. The aerial footage allowed rapid assessment of any damage to cell sites that were inaccessible by land due to the floodwaters.