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PROJECT

Measuring the cellular signal for  Everything Everywhere “EE”, starting with drive tests,  then at heights up to 8,500ft.

Technologies

  • Fully equipped state of the art Virtua drive test cars.
  • “Nemo Walker”handheld test rigs.
  • Samsung Galaxy S5 handsets.
  • Full voice and data test equipment covering 2G, 3G and 4G technologies.
Virtua RF Testing in Helicopter

Solution

EE Selected Virtua to help support them in their project to measure their mobile signal at altitudes from ground level up to 8500ft to allow a full assessment of 4G network coverage.

Virtua were tasked to test a specific route in a drive test vehicle then repeat the same route in a helicopter. This provided accurate measurements on the signal’s performance at different heights. The results were then compiled into a coverage report for our customer.

The project began with an initial drive test of the planned route from the aircraft base at Bicester to Bristol. Next, a more detailed drive of Bristol was carried out, encompassing the four 4G cell sites that are currently deployed in the area. Virtua’s drive test car used the same equipment and configuration as the planned flight survey, thus providing a comparison of the EE 4G mobile network under typical operational conditions.

We then proceeded to the next phase of testing, performing these tests on-boarda helicopter, from where Virtua’s experienced survey team carried out controlled performance measurements of the EE network.

The next round of testing involved a number of detailed static 4G measurements, starting at 250ft then finishing at 8,500ft. Each test duration was approximately 5 minutes and gave a good representation of performance at each height point. This above test was repeated twice to enhance the data-set collected.

The helicopter was then taken on the same route as the drive test team. Parts of this route were tested at maximum speed (160 mph) to fully test the mobility and handover performance of the 4G network. The height of the test was at approximately 1000ft, but varied depending on flight conditions.

We performed the 3G and 4G system test using a “Nemo Walker” setup using a scanner and Samsung Galaxy S5 handsets. In order to capture all the requirements of the various technologies, bands, voice and data services, two identical Nemo Walker systems were deployed.

Finally the data was collated into a comprehensive report and submitted to EE. It was concluded that 4G was available for voice and data at even 8500ft.