Research Topic

Integrated Space-Aerial-Terrestrial Networks for Global Connectivity

About this Research Topic

In order to meet the demands of the continuously increasing number of connected devices and data traffic, disruptive changes in the cellular network architecture are required. It is envisioned that integrating low earth orbit (LEO) satellites, high altitude platforms (HAPs), tethered balloons, and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) into the cellular network has a great potential to meet the skyrocketing requirements of next generation cellular networks. The integrated space-aerialterrestrial network (SATNet) architecture has the potential to improve coverage and capacity in various scenarios including disaster relief, sports events, rural areas, and maritime communications, among others. The three dimensional architecture and flexibility of the integrated network will also play a vital role in providing the anticipated quality of service (QoS) for the next generation wireless networks. The architecture of SATNets requires careful design in order to meet the special requirements of each use case in terms of latency, reliability, and data rate. In particular, efficient design, deployment, and operation of such networks face various fundamental trade-offs. Due to the flexibility and potential mobility of SATNets, the design can be tailored to meet any specific requirement. Although LEO satellites have smaller propagation delay and result in lower latency as compared to the Geostationary (GEO) satellites, they are still not able to support the low-latency requirements demanded by some applications of mission-critical Internet of Things (IoT) and Beyond 5G UltraReliable and Low-Latency (URLLC) systems. Instead, a hybrid network composed of terrestrial base stations (TBSs) and low altitude UAVs enables supporting ultra-low latency services. Clearly, such inherent trade-off between coverage and latency can be effectively addressed using SATNets. This special issue solicits original articles on the following, non-exclusive, topics:

• SATNets architectures for future networks: network requirements, air interface modeling and design,
network densification, cooperative communications, MIMO systems and beamforming. In addition,
modeling and design of LEO-to-UAV, UAV-to-UAV and UAV-to-ground links (channel
characterization, Spectrum sharing and Co-layer (UAV-UAV) and cross-layer interference mitigation
(LEO-UAV, UAV-BS)
• SATNets technologies: optical wireless communications, mm-wave communication, free space
optics, hybrid RF systems, and network function virtualization
• SATNets performance: energy and spectral efficiency, latency and user experience, network
resilience and reliability
• SATNets resource management: resource allocation, scheduling and load balancing, modulation and
coding techniques, multiple access, multiplexing, and ML/AI techniques for intelligent resource
management
• SATNets optimization: network placement and position, network association, trajectory planning,
and backhaul support, SATNets applications: smart city and smart home, Internet-of-everything, V2X
and self-driving cars, smart-grid, edge computing, disaster relief, and rural coverage enhancement
• SATNets deployment: design, deployment, operation, regulation, operating expense (OPEX),
standardization efforts, and implementation aspects
• SATNets security: security and privacy challenges, modeling, and solutions
• SATNets coexistence: interplay between SATNets and existing wireless systems such as WiFi, cellular
technologies, and low-power wide-area network (LPWAN)

This special issue will present a comprehensive overview of the emerging SATNet architecture including fundamentals, requirements, design considerations, and technologies needed to support the integration of satellite and aerial vehicles with the traditional network. Furthermore, this special issue will identify some of the key enabling technologies and optimization techniques along with a research landscape for these technologies toward the development of exciting new vertical frameworks. For those interested in this topic, this special issue will serve as an essential starting point for further development in this intriguing research area.


Keywords: Satellite Communication, Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs), Global Connectivity


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

In order to meet the demands of the continuously increasing number of connected devices and data traffic, disruptive changes in the cellular network architecture are required. It is envisioned that integrating low earth orbit (LEO) satellites, high altitude platforms (HAPs), tethered balloons, and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) into the cellular network has a great potential to meet the skyrocketing requirements of next generation cellular networks. The integrated space-aerialterrestrial network (SATNet) architecture has the potential to improve coverage and capacity in various scenarios including disaster relief, sports events, rural areas, and maritime communications, among others. The three dimensional architecture and flexibility of the integrated network will also play a vital role in providing the anticipated quality of service (QoS) for the next generation wireless networks. The architecture of SATNets requires careful design in order to meet the special requirements of each use case in terms of latency, reliability, and data rate. In particular, efficient design, deployment, and operation of such networks face various fundamental trade-offs. Due to the flexibility and potential mobility of SATNets, the design can be tailored to meet any specific requirement. Although LEO satellites have smaller propagation delay and result in lower latency as compared to the Geostationary (GEO) satellites, they are still not able to support the low-latency requirements demanded by some applications of mission-critical Internet of Things (IoT) and Beyond 5G UltraReliable and Low-Latency (URLLC) systems. Instead, a hybrid network composed of terrestrial base stations (TBSs) and low altitude UAVs enables supporting ultra-low latency services. Clearly, such inherent trade-off between coverage and latency can be effectively addressed using SATNets. This special issue solicits original articles on the following, non-exclusive, topics:

• SATNets architectures for future networks: network requirements, air interface modeling and design,
network densification, cooperative communications, MIMO systems and beamforming. In addition,
modeling and design of LEO-to-UAV, UAV-to-UAV and UAV-to-ground links (channel
characterization, Spectrum sharing and Co-layer (UAV-UAV) and cross-layer interference mitigation
(LEO-UAV, UAV-BS)
• SATNets technologies: optical wireless communications, mm-wave communication, free space
optics, hybrid RF systems, and network function virtualization
• SATNets performance: energy and spectral efficiency, latency and user experience, network
resilience and reliability
• SATNets resource management: resource allocation, scheduling and load balancing, modulation and
coding techniques, multiple access, multiplexing, and ML/AI techniques for intelligent resource
management
• SATNets optimization: network placement and position, network association, trajectory planning,
and backhaul support, SATNets applications: smart city and smart home, Internet-of-everything, V2X
and self-driving cars, smart-grid, edge computing, disaster relief, and rural coverage enhancement
• SATNets deployment: design, deployment, operation, regulation, operating expense (OPEX),
standardization efforts, and implementation aspects
• SATNets security: security and privacy challenges, modeling, and solutions
• SATNets coexistence: interplay between SATNets and existing wireless systems such as WiFi, cellular
technologies, and low-power wide-area network (LPWAN)

This special issue will present a comprehensive overview of the emerging SATNet architecture including fundamentals, requirements, design considerations, and technologies needed to support the integration of satellite and aerial vehicles with the traditional network. Furthermore, this special issue will identify some of the key enabling technologies and optimization techniques along with a research landscape for these technologies toward the development of exciting new vertical frameworks. For those interested in this topic, this special issue will serve as an essential starting point for further development in this intriguing research area.


Keywords: Satellite Communication, Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs), Global Connectivity


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

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Submission Deadlines

30 March 2021 Manuscript
29 April 2021 Manuscript Extension

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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Topic Editors

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Submission Deadlines

30 March 2021 Manuscript
29 April 2021 Manuscript Extension

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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