person using mobile device for cell tower inspection

Cell Tower Inspections Made Simple with the gNext Platform

Do you remember when cell phones were seen as luxury items? When mobile phones initially crept onto the scene, they were considered costly and exclusive. It’s been nearly forty years since cell phones made their way into the mass market. Today, having a cell phone is seen as a basic need. Being able to call, text, browse the web, and use tools and apps has shaped our society by leaps and bounds.

With that said, our telecommunication infrastructure must be designed with our evolving needs in mind.

The Demand for Wireless Capabilities

The launch of the 4G network in 2009 was a game-changer that became the standard, and now the demand for greater wireless capacity has led to the deployment of 5G technology with over 6 million cell towers in use globally.

To continue accommodating our digitally-centric society, existing towers must be properly maintained and more infrastructure must be installed. In response to a growing amount of assets, all cell towers will need to be inspected as mandated by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).

Prioritizing Telecommunication Infrastructure Inspections

A manual inspection of existing towers and potential sites for new telecommunication infrastructure involves a significant amount of manpower and risk.

Regularly inspecting cell tower sites ensures regulatory compliance and tower longevity. There is an exhaustive list of structural elements and factors that need to be inspected, including the tower, electrical and lighting systems, wires, and antennas. A lot of time goes into planning for these inspections — from traveling to the site, down to analyzing the inspector’s findings.

To properly conduct a telecommunications equipment inspection, access to additional resources such as safety equipment and insurance is necessary but expensive. While the total expense depends on the location, size, and amount of transmission equipment installed, the average inspection cost including travel is nearly $4,000 per tower. Cell tower inspections are an integral piece of preserving this critical infrastructure.

The telecommunications inspection industry can benefit from having a more efficient way of monitoring the condition of its infrastructure.

Enter gNext.

gNext: Revolutionizing Cell Tower Inspections for the Telecommunication Industry

cell tower inspection

Due to the ever-changing factors of tower infrastructure data, changes can be difficult to track.

The gNext Platform is an innovative cloud-based solution that’s changing the future of infrastructure inspection. The secure, enterprise-class software allows users to virtually inspect and track their assets, rather than work under harsh, risky conditions on-site.

Instead of traveling to faraway locations and working at extreme heights, telecommunication equipment inspectors can conduct their work remotely.

The platform offers users a different perspective and allows them to visualize their asset data using highly accurate 3D, mesh, and point-cloud models. Both aerial and vehicle-collected data can be converted to digital models on the platform, and the underlying Artificial Intelligence engine can provide inspectors with automated assistance.

Additionally, clients can measure and compare change over time with multiple digital inspections.

Some major challenges that the telecommunications structure inspection industry is facing include monitoring cell towers for signs of damage and wear from weather events, planning for equipment upgrades and modernizations, as well as auditing the installed equipment to ensure proper back billing to carriers for tower usage.

telecom infrastructure management: image inspection

Without maintaining a single source of truth in one central location, the risk of inconsistent analysis increases, and data-based decisions are more difficult to make.

But with gNext, teams can stay informed every step of the way thanks to data sharing and change-over-time mapping.

The gNext Platform provides cell tower inspectors with actionable and insightful data and allows them to compare today’s progress with tomorrow’s planned vision. This can be helpful as the telecom industry grows to meet increasing consumer demands.

The gNext Platform aids teams in seamlessly updating wireless communication facilities including towers, rooftops, and other structures to support new equipment deployments.

By partnering with gNext, asset owners and inspectors can ensure that they fulfill cell tower inspection requirements and safely prevent catastrophic events from occurring.

Reduce Risks and Bolster Success with Effective Cell Tower Infrastructure Inspection

lightning strikes in dark purple sky above telecom tower

As mentioned previously, cell towers face numerous structural challenges including high winds, weight load, foundation load, and environmental disasters like earthquakes. They also can be susceptible to nontraditional offenses like the Telstra Mullumbimby tower fire.

In any of these cases, gNext can also offer inspectors and insurers a reliable solution to evaluating the total damage. With the gNext Platform, users can compare asset data from before and after the crisis to support the validity of claims.

Traditionally, an inspection requires climbing equipment and/or rope access for engineers to scale the equipment. A telecommunications engineering structural analysis is required for a cell tower when the tower is being designed or modified.

Structural analysis plays a vital part in a cell tower’s construction, particularly one that’s used by a large population. Without it, asset owners could end up with a cell tower that doesn’t last under harsh conditions, leaving them to waste time and money trying to repair or rebuild a new one.

Technology is changing the state of the infrastructure inspection process. Currently, more teams are turning to drones for cell tower inspections. Drones enable teams to collect more data than they could while using manual methods. Drones can easily capture images of out-of-reach structural elements. With drone-captured image data, users can create digital twins for remote inspection.

Using digital twins allows inspectors to conduct 3–6 inspections per day from an office as opposed to traveling to remote locations in the field. This would be more cost-effective compared to a traditional telecommunications equipment inspection, which can cost as much as $4,000 per site.

With the baseline from the first digital inspection, future inspections can include change-over-time features to understand tower condition changes, as well as equipment and antenna angles to ensure proper alignment for effective signal reception and delivery. gNext can help users track changes without any hassle and make informed, data-based decisions. This is crucial, especially in accelerating important projects like 5G expansion and making access ubiquitous. Overall, the gNext Platform can ensure telecommunications asset sustainability.

Trust in gNext For Telecom Equipment Inspections

By partnering with gNext, the telecommunication infrastructure inspection industry can tackle advancements such as the 5G networks. In turn, this could help individuals and businesses alike reach their full potential with their endeavors. To see the gNext Platform in action, request a demo today!

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