Drone, short for “unmanned aerial vehicle” (UAV) or “unmanned aircraft system” (UAS), is an aircraft without a human pilot on board. Drones can be remotely controlled by a human operator or autonomously operated using software-controlled flight plans or a combination of both. Drones are used for various purposes, including aerial photography, surveillance, recreational activities, and even in certain industrial applications.


SkyCore: Moving Core to the Edge for Untethered and Reliable UAV-based LTE Networks

SkyCore: Moving Core to the Edge for Untethered and Reliable UAV-based LTE Networks The advances in unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) technology have empowered mobile operators to deploy LTE base stations (BSs) on UAVs, and provide on-demand, adaptive connectivity to hotspot venues as well as emergency scenarios. However, today’s evolved packet core (EPC) that orchestrates the LTE RAN faces fundamental limitations in catering to such a challenging, wireless and mobile UAV environment, particularly in the presence of multiple BSs (UAVs). In this work, we argue for and propose an alternate, radical edge EPC design, called SkyCore that pushes the EPC functionality to the extreme edge of the core network – collapses the EPC into a single, light-weight, self-contained entity that is co-located with each of the UAV BS. SkyCore incorporates elements that are designed to address the unique challenges facing such a distributed design in the UAV environment, namely the resource-constraints of UAV platforms, and the distributed management of pronounced UAV and UE mobility. We build and deploy a fully functional version of SkyCore on a two-UAV LTE network and showcase its (i) ability to interoperate with commercial LTE BSs as well as smartphones, (ii) support for both hotspot and standalone multi-UAV deployments, and (iii) superior control and data plane performance compared to other EPC variants in this environment.

SkyLiTE: End-to-End Design of Low-altitutde UAV Networks for Providing LTE Connectivity

SkyLiTE: End-to-End Design of Low-altitutde UAV Networks for Providing LTE Connectivity Un-manned aerial vehicle (UAVs) have the potential to change the landscape of wide-area wireless connectivity by bringing them to areas where connectivity was sparing or non-existent (e.g. rural areas) or has been compromised due to disasters. While Google’s Project Loon and Facebook’s Project Aquila are examples of high-altitude, long-endurance UAV-based connectivity efforts in this direction, the telecom operators (e.g. AT&T and Verizon) have been exploring low-altitude UAV-based LTE solutions for on-demand deployments. Understandably, these projects are in their early stages and face formidable challenges in their realization and deployment. The goal of this document is to expose the reader to both the challenges as well as the potential offered by these unconventional connectivity solutions. We aim to explore the end-to-end design of such UAV-based connectivity networks particularly in the context of low-altitude UAV networks providing LTE connectivity. Specifically, we aim to highlight the challenges that span across multiple layers (access, core network, and backhaul) in an inter-twined manner as well as the richness and complexity of the design space itself. To help interested readers navigate this complex design space towards a solution, we also articulate the overview of one such end-to-end design, namely SkyLiTE– a self-organizing network of low-altitude UAVs that provide optimized LTE connectivity in a desired region.