Performance of mobile networks with UAVs: Can flying base stations substitute ultra-dense small cells?

Becvar, Zdenek; Vondra, Michal; Mach, Pavel; Plachy, Jan; Gesbert, David
EW 2017, 23rd European Wireless, 17-19 May, 2017, Dresden, Germany

Best Paper Award

A crucial challenge for future mobile networks is to enable wide range of scenarios and use cases for different devices spanning from simple sensors to advanced machines or users' devices. Such requirements call for highly flexible and scalable radio access network (RAN). To provide high flexibility and scalability in dynamic scenarios, flying base stations (FlyBSs), i.e., base stations mounted on general unmanned aerial vehicles, can be integrated into RAN. In this paper, implementation and operational issues related to the FlyBSs are discussed. Additionally scenarios where the FlyBS can be profitable are outlined. Furthermore, we define the architecture of a flying RAN (FlyRAN) encompassing the FlyBSs and enabling real-time control of whole RAN so that it can dynamically adapt to users' movement and changes in their communication activity. Our results show the superior efficiency of FlyBSs comparing to an ultra-dense deployment of static base stations (BSs) for a realistic scenario with moving users. Our simulations suggest that one FlyBS can provide throughput comparable to static BSs deployed with density corresponding to inter-site distance of 45 meters. At the same time, energy efficiency of the communication for the user equipment can be improved more than 5-times. This indicates that integration of the FlyBSs into mobile networks can be an efficient alternative to ultra-dense small cell deployment, especially in scenarios with users moving in crowds.

Communication systems
Eurecom Ref:
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