• @Patrick,

    as I recall, you need to buy m2m data plan CIR from your carrier (offered under contract only).

    CIR stays for guaranteed bandwidth
    Committed information rate
    In a Frame Relay network, committed information rate (CIR) is the bandwidth for a virtual circuit guaranteed by an internet service provider to work…
  • Somewhat related to Darius's point re: restrictions imposed by commercial phone companies on top of those imposed by law:

    Some of us who are pursuing commercial applications already live in fear of a 'ban them all' knee-jerk reaction by authorities to the (inevitable) spectacular misuses of drones for criminal/violent purposes. Misuses which, unfortunately, are certainly coming.

    I shudder a little to think what will happen when the first headlines scream 'drone attack carried out using Rogers' (or Bell's, or whoever's) network'.

    A knee-jerk 'ban it' response by the phone companies for public relations purposes (via Terms of Use which prohibit using their networks for drones) seems even more predictable than one from the government authorities.

    And yes, I know criminals already use the cellphone networks, but that's different. The carriers would not be putting themselves out of business by banning use of their networks by drones, because the potential market's insignificant to them (unlike the cellphone market).

    Honestly, I wouldn't underestimate the threat. In fact, I'd be reluctant to proceed with a business model which relied on continued permission to use the commercial cell-phone networks.

    There are already enough rules and regulations to try to cope with.

    Just meant as food for thought.


    • Hello George,

      That is definitively a factor that needs to be taken account of in our new world order :-(...

      A few years ago that discussion would have been described as ''FUD'' , but now it is plain facts.

      Thanks for the reminder

  • Hi Patrick, legality aside, the industry will be putting up significant roadblocks.  I've fought with Rogers, MTS and Sasktel a few times now, trying to get a spare SIM card.  A couple times I think I got away with it because the agent wasn't aware of policies.  But this last time was really hard and I was only able to get one because the nearest store is 150kms away.  They want to ensure that each and every SIM is going into a phone and has a plan associated with it.  I'm not sure the reasoning behind it though.

    • @Patrick,

      Is it legal to use a cellular modem 3G-4G LTE in a UAV in Canada ?

      Mobile telephony operators have implemented many years ago restrictions on the use of data transfer in 3G/4G enabled smartphones,
      via 3G/4G modems, 3G/4G enabled tablets.

      Many years ago EU operators offered special data plan for vehicle
      geolocation service, for video cam monitoring, for home and office alarm and monitoring services.

      Today, mobile Internet is pocket money in Europe
      about $1/1GB (prepaid service - no contract).

      But some mobile telephony operators have installed sniffers to control
      if your data transfer is pure Internet (html and other Internet protocols) or pure peer-to-peer data transfer - video monitoring,
      vehicle tracking, banking services and more.

      So to comply with your local mobile telephony - data transfer standards just ask about data plan Sim card, if available.

      Otherwise set up web server/ router/ proxy to simulate human2machine service since Machine2Machine mobile data is still overregulated
      by old legislation to limit transfer and service can be terminated
      any time if you replace human2machine data plan by machine2machine only operations.

      So ask your mobile operator for m2m 3G/4G Sim card data plan
      since generic mobile Internet service can be interrupted any time without notice, transfer can be limited.

      So in case of human2machine 3G/4G Sim card data plan you need to build your own Internet down > fail-safe algorithm.

    • Thanks Darius Jack,  

      This is a very interesting information that might help to decide on the network topology and operational mode.

      I will certainly check on the H2M - VS - M2M  features and pricing  in carrier plans.

  • Legal Aspects Aside ....for the moment.

    The idea of using the 3G/4G network for UAV control and FPV flight monitoring has been an exciting prospect for drone teams since I started in 2008.

    Then and now, there is a shortcoming in the 3G/4G/LTE network: it does not guarantee to provide the minimum required bandwidth that is needed to ensure continuous contact with, and control of, your "bird." This same shortcoming will cause latency, frame drops and frame-freezes with your FPV connection.

    Unlike the bandwidth available for cellphones, which is relatively constant to ensure robust service, I do not believe that "data" is currently reliable enough for UAV or FPV operations. So, unless the LTE providers (like Rogers) start offering a premium continuous LTE service for professional use, LTE for UAV's may not be ready for prime time. Also, I am almost certain that Transport Canada would require a "Special" for this mode of flight control.
    • Well you probably guessed who has requested that we integrate this communication link into the design ? 

      These are the same ''mates''  that each and every year are trying to find Outback Joe and drop him medecine, we might do the same: Finding the McKenzie brothers and drop them a couple of beer bottles :-) !!

      Back to the design, the cellular link is a telemetry-tracking of the autonomous fly for long range. It is not intended to control the fly in a ''manual'' mode and it might not be legal in the ''line of sight'' definition of the new rules. So my question is more specific to the usage of a cellular type of device moving in the airspace in Canada... a very long time ago when I was training for my private licence, I've been told that we could not use a cellular in the plane because it was creating interference in the tower ''handover'' of my cell phone because the cell switching design was specific to ground based transmission... I cant find anything on this.

  • Have you looked through this, Patrick?:

    (TC's guidance to inspectors on assessing applications for SFOCs)

    Under 6.8:

    "The Inspector shall remind the Certificate applicant of the requirement to contact Industry Canada regarding the assignment of radio frequencies.  Coordination with Industry Canada is not required if using licence-exempt radio frequencies (e.g. 72 MHz, 902-928 MHz, 2.4 GHz, etc.)."

    Outside these bands (and there's another one around 5 GHz), I believe you need a (ham) radio licence to transmit.

    I'm guessing the cellphone carriers possess such licences, and if operating on their networks, you're covered.

    I'm moderately familiar with the regs, and I can't recall any restrictions as specific as 'you cannot use a cellphone carrier's equipment or frequencies in the air, only on the ground'.

    An email to Industry Canada would probably produce a more reliable opinion.


    • Thanks George,

      This paragraph looks is quite explicit, nonetheless I will write to IC concerning the usage. Many Thanks

      5.3 Portable Electronic Devices

      1. Portable electronic devices (PED) are items such as two-way radios, cellular phones, tablets, laptop computers, audio/visual recorders and hand-held Global Positioning System (GPS) / Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS), that are not part of the UAV system inventory.
      2. The use of PEDs in manned aircraft is governed by section 602.08 of the CARs.
        1. In the absence of engineering evaluations on individual UAV systems, by the original equipment manufacturer or operator, TC will apply section 602.08 of the CARs to the use of PEDs in the UAV, the control station and around command and control segment equipment.
        2. PEDs such as hearing aids, heart pacemakers, electronic watches and UAV operator-installed PEDs that have been properly tested so as not to impair the functioning of the UAV's systems or equipment are permitted without restrictions.
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