Radio comms tester paves way for 4G/5G drone approval

14th December 2023
Mick Elliott

Nokia and Rohde & Schwarz have announced that the Nokia Drone Networks solution has been certified by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).

This marks the agency’s first full certification of a native 4G/5G drone-in-a-box solution.

The achievement represents a significant step in providing U.S. customers a proven, industrial-grade 4G/5G drone solution built for reliable Beyond Visual Line of Sight (BVLOS) operations.

Going forward, Nokia will leverage its recently announced U.S. partnerships for private LTE and 5G solutions to accelerate the market entry.

Drawing on its extensive history in telecom, Nokia prioritized robust and reliable connectivity in the Nokia Drone Networks solution. Highly resilient connectivity is critical to remote drone operation, real-time streaming of data collected during a drone mission, and BVLOS operation using a large set of 3GPP spectrum bands.

Research and development efforts have pushed the boundaries in terms of RF design and connectivity performance. Innovative features such as full network connection redundancy, multi-operator support and hot failover also differentiate Nokia Drone Networks in terms of operational reliability.

Nokia and Rohde & Schwarz originally joined forces in 2022 with an MoU to embed Rohde & Schwarz QualiPoc 4.9G/LTE and 5G network measurement capabilities into the Nokia Drone Networks platform, a solution that expands use cases for customers with deeper knowledge around wireless network coverage and performance for more efficient utilization of their networks.

Extending the cooperation to device testing and certification, Nokia collaborated with Rohde & Schwarz to complete the FCC’s rigorous requirements for R&D component testing. The R&S CMX500 radio communication tester from Rohde & Schwarz was utilized in the Nokia Bell Labs Global Product and Compliance Laboratory for extensive radiated and conducted emissions testing.

The rich tool set of the R&S CMX500 and the flexible web-based R&S CMsquares user interface were instrumental in conducting comprehensive signalling protocol tests.

Olaf Heisch, Director Target Accounts Mobile Network Testing at Rohde & Schwarz, commented: “This achievement underscores the transformative capabilities of our Radio Communication Tester R&S CMX500. Its role in securing FCC certification for Nokia Drone Networks is a testament to its pivotal position in driving innovation in the 5G and drone technology landscape. This collaboration highlights the power of cutting-edge technology and strategic partnerships in shaping the future of the industry.”

Thomas Eder, Head of Embedded Wireless Solutions, Nokia, responded: “This achievement highlights the vital role that collaboration and diligent testing play in the 5G era. By meeting the FCC’s rigorous standards, we are shaping the path in the U.S. for industrial and public sector use cases, improved 5G spectrum monetization, and the nationwide roll-out of drones

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