Distribution Network Maintenance Work Enhancement With Drones During Limited Mobile Network Access

Joonas Säe, Jarkko Laaja, Heikki Paananen, Mikko Valkama

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionScientificpeer-review

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Severe storms can cause major disturbances to electricity distribution. To restore power, distribution system operators (DSOs) deploy an extensive repair operation. The repair workers are dependent on a working cellular network connection. However, mobile networks are reliant on electricity networks. The cellular base stations (BSs) that serve the repair area might be affected by the power outage resulting in cellular network dead zones. Although these base stations have reserve batteries, they last only a few hours after which the BSs cease to function. In order to communicate with a control centre or update the data of mobile network information systems, the linemen have to travel to an area where there is still some mobile network coverage. This can significantly slow down the recovery process of major disturbances. This paper shows an innovative way to utilize unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), or drones, in the distribution network’s maintenance work. The results of this paper introduce a substantial extension to the normal mobile network coverage area with the help of drones. It is shown that the aerial signal power is 100–1000 times stronger (20 dB to 30 dB) compared with the ground level measurements, which enables a substantial increase to the maximum distance between the mobile network base station and the user equipment (UE). The measurement field tests show that even under normal network conditions the cell distances of UEs are increased from several kilometres in the ground-level to tens of kilometres in the air.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publication25th International Conference on Electricity Distribution
ISBN (Electronic)978-2-9602415-0-1
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2019
Publication typeA4 Article in conference proceedings
EventInternational Conference on Electricity Distribution - IFEMA Convention Center, Madrid, Spain
Duration: 3 Jun 20196 Jun 2019
Conference number: 25

Publication series

NameCIRED conference proceedings
ISSN (Electronic)2032-9644


ConferenceInternational Conference on Electricity Distribution
Abbreviated titleCIRED 2019
Internet address

Publication forum classification

  • Publication forum level 1


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