Drones can compensate for human limitations. They are the eyes in the sky that provide firefighters with high-resolution images from above the fire to see how the incident is developing. They are the couriers of medical supplies that can reach the hardest to reach areas, especially after disasters. But neither is possible without reliable connectivity.
Avy B.V. is a drone pioneer in the Netherlands, building drones certified to fly BVLOS (beyond visual line of sight). The drones they build are used for urgent healthcare deliveries and emergency monitoring. To ensure that their drones can always successfully perform their critical missions, Avy turned to Network Innovations, a partner of Frontier BV, for help.
The connectivity challenges these drones face during their missions are even more difficult to overcome than most people think.
First, the installation space and expected weight are limited, so the connectivity equipment must be slim and light enough to fit inside the drones.
In addition, these drones fly at very high speeds of around 90 km/h, which results in frequent switching between connected cell towers and therefore long dropouts. Dropouts can cut short critical missions and even jeopardize the safety of people and property on the ground.
Previously, Avy used equipment that provided redundant connections. But, that was it. The equipment could not provide a seamless backup, and they still experienced drops in camera streams. This time, Avy wanted to achieve their ultimate goal – consistent connectivity with zero downtime.
Once Network Innovations understood the need, they had the best answer in mind. The Peplink partner provided Avy with a solution consisting of a series of Peplink products.
The first step was to deploy a FusionHub, Peplink’s virtual appliance, at the headquarters. The FusionHub acts as a virtual endpoint and establishes a SpeedFusion tunnel with each physical Peplink device installed in the drones and at the remote sites, enabling Peplink’s technologies to be implemented within it. Additional cloud services, such as a centralized video relay server, are also connected to it.
Then, each drone was equipped with a SpeedFusion Engine, which provides two cellular connections in a compact form factor. The two connections were aggregated together using Bandwidth Bonding for a smooth live feed from the camera on the drone. In addition, Hot Failover ensures that if one connection fails, the other will seamlessly pick up the traffic, keeping the drone connected.
A Transit Duo Pro or Transit Duo was also installed in each flight crew vehicle. Each of these dual-cellular routers can keep the pilots connected, making sure that they don’t lose contact with their drones, and that they have reliable access to live feeds. Bandwidth Bonding and Hot Failover are used in the same way as with the SpeedFusion Engine.
Moreover, a BR1 Mini was integrated into the existing network infrastructure at each of the control centers and docking stations. This single-cellular router provides cellular backup for the primary connection, improving the overall network reliability.
All of these devices work together to form a large and robust network that enables reliable connectivity and seamless operation of Avy’s drones during critical missions.
“A bonded solution is an absolute must for us in terms of reliability. Without the bonding, we still saw drops in the stream. With the bonding, we see almost no drops in flight.
We are also really happy with the dual bonded bandwidth for video streaming; doubling our bandwidth seemed to make a huge improvement in the stability of the camera streams in general.”Software & Controls Engineer at Avy B.V.
The Peplink solution, which incorporates key SpeedFusion technologies, has provided Avy with a satisfying improvement in every part of their network.
Bandwidth Bonding allows each Avy drone and flight crew vehicle to leverage the speed of two cellular connections. Not only does this greatly improve the quality of live streams, but it also ensures that both drones and pilots stay connected even when they are on the move or in a bandwidth-constrained location.
What’s more, Hot Failover enables truly seamless failover, rather than the simple redundancy that Avy used to have. Each primary connection in use now has an instant backup, so instant that even when the failover is complete, it is not noticed.
No dropouts in live feeds, no dropouts in communications, no dropouts at all. This is the connectivity Avy wanted to achieve, and a key component to the smooth critical mission of their drones.
- Deployed at the headquarters
- Self-hosted virtual appliance
- Integrates SpeedFusion into your existing infrastructure
- High scalability, supporting up to 4,000 nodes
- Installed inside the flight crew vehicle
- Dual-LTE device with 1 Gbps router throughput, doubling the speeds for live streaming and communications
- Supports Wi-Fi 6
- Supports Edge Computing
- Flexible power input options
- Installed inside the drone
- Dual-LTE device, combining the speeds of two cellular connections and enhancing the reliability in midair
- Ultra-Compact form factor, fitting in the palm of your hand
- Low power consumption
- Enables device location tracking
- Deployed at each control center and docking station
- Single-LTE device, providing instant cellular backup to the primary connection
- Supports GPIO & Ignition Sensing
- Affordable for large-scale deployment