This week EE has finally done a press release on what they term as Airmasts (see my blog post here). Back in Nov. last year, Mansoor Hanif, Director of Converged Networks and Innovation BT/EE gave an excellent presentation on connecting rural Scottish Islands using Airmasts and Droneways at the Facebook TIP Summit. Embedded below are the slides and video from that talk.
In other related news, AT&T is showing flying COWs (Cell On Wheels) that can transmit LTE signals
Their innovation blog says:
It is designed to beam LTE coverage from the sky to customers on the ground during disasters or big events.
Here’s how it works. The drone we tested carries a small cell and antennas. It’s connected to the ground by a thin tether. The tether between the drone and the ground provides a highly secure data connection via fiber and supplies power to the Flying COW, which allows for unlimited flight time. The Flying COW then uses satellite to transport texts, calls, and data. The Flying COW can operate in extremely remote areas and where wired or wireless infrastructure is not immediately available. Like any drone that we deploy, pilots will monitor and operate the device during use.
Once airborne, the Flying COW provides LTE coverage from the sky to a designated area on the ground.
Compared to a traditional COW, in certain circumstances, a Flying COW can be easier to deploy due to its small size. We expect it to provide coverage to a larger footprint because it can potentially fly at altitudes over 300 feet— about 500% higher than a traditional COW mast.
Once operational, the Flying COW could eventually provide coverage to an area up to 40 square miles—about the size of a 100 football fields. We may also deploy multiple Flying COWs to expand the coverage footprint.
Nokia on the other hand has also been showcasing drones and LTE connectivity for public safety at D4G Award event in Dubai
- Flying Small Cells are here...
- Facebook's Attempt to Connect the Unconnected
- An Update from the TIP Summit
- Drone cells are becoming a reality
- When COWs Fly: AT&T Sending LTE Signals from Drones
- Nokia demos drones with LTE connection to conduct rescue operations