Evaluating LTE coverage and quality from an unmanned aircraft system

Michael Nekrasov, Vivek Adarsh, Udit Paul, Esther Showalter, Ellen Zegura, Morgan Vigil-Hayes, Elizabeth Belding

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

5 Scopus citations

Abstract

Despite widespread LTE adoption and dependence, rural areas lag behind in coverage availability and quality. In the United States, while the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), which regulates mobile broadband, reports increases in LTE availability, the most recent FCC Broadband Report was criticized for overstating coverage. Physical assessments of cellular coverage and quality are essential for evaluating actual user experience. However, measurement campaigns can be resource, time, and labor intensive; more scalable measurement strategies are urgently needed. In this work, we first present several measurement solutions to capture LTE signal strength measurements, and we compare their accuracy. Our findings reveal that simple, lightweight spectrum sensing devices have comparable accuracy to expensive solutions and can estimate quality within one gradation of accuracy when compared to user equipment. We then show that these devices can be mounted on Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) to more rapidly and easily measure coverage across wider geographic regions. Our results show that the low-cost aerial measurement techniques have 72% accuracy relative to the ground readings of user equipment, and fall within one quality gradation 98% of the time.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationProceedings - 2019 IEEE 16th International Conference on Mobile Ad Hoc and Smart Systems, MASS 2019
PublisherInstitute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Inc.
Pages171-179
Number of pages9
ISBN (Electronic)9781728146010
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 2019
Event16th IEEE International Conference on Mobile Ad Hoc and Smart Systems, MASS 2019 - Monterey, United States
Duration: Nov 4 2019Nov 7 2019

Publication series

NameProceedings - 2019 IEEE 16th International Conference on Mobile Ad Hoc and Smart Systems, MASS 2019

Conference

Conference16th IEEE International Conference on Mobile Ad Hoc and Smart Systems, MASS 2019
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CityMonterey
Period11/4/1911/7/19

Keywords

  • Aerial Networks
  • Cellular Coverage
  • LTE
  • Mobile Broadband
  • RSRP
  • Software Defined Radios
  • UAS

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Software
  • Hardware and Architecture
  • Computer Networks and Communications

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