Low-delay broadband satellite communications with high-altitude unmanned aerial vehicles

Changhee Joo, Jihwan Choi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Citations (Scopus)


The large number of users and the long propagation delay of communication satellites make it difficult to deploy a random access scheme that performs well in terrestrial networks. The aim of this paper is to demonstrate that a relay architecture with unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) between the ground and satellites can facilitate satellite access with a low overhead. We consider a TDMA-based two-level relay structure, in which users transmit data to UAVs through a random access scheme, and the UAVs forward it to the satellite with either a coordinated or uncoordinated access scheme. We show that the coordinated access for the UAV- to-satellite links can substantially improve the throughput and delay performance. We conclude that a proper scheme for resource allocation between ground-to-UAVs and UAVs-to-satellite is critical to optimize the relay network, which includes the UAV altitude, and should be based on traffic demand and the number of UAVs deployed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)102-108
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Communications and Networks
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2018 Feb
Externally publishedYes


  • relay architecture
  • satellite communications
  • unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV)
  • uplink access

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Information Systems
  • Computer Networks and Communications


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