FSO (Free-Space Optics) is a communication technology that uses light beams, typically in the infrared spectrum, for transmitting data through free space (air) without the need for physical cables or fiber optics. FSO systems leverage the principles of optical communication to establish point-to-point or point-to-multipoint links for high-speed data transmission.


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.