In mobile access networks, different types of Internet of Things (IoT) devices (e.g., sensor nodes and smartphones) generate vast traffic demands, thus dramatically increasing the traffic loads of their connected access nodes, especially in the 5G era. Considering the possible traffic congestion of the access nodes, drone base stations (DBSs) can be flexibly deployed to hotspot areas as relays between the access nodes and IoT devices. As the DBSs' batteries are limited while their backhauls toward access nodes directly impact the throughput of IoT devices in downloading their data, how to improve the flight time of DBSs and the backhaul capacity remains critical in drone-assisted access networks. Hence, we propose a Free Space Optics as Backhaul and Energizer for Drone-Assisted Networking (SoarNet) architecture, where a free space optics (FSO) link serves as the backhaul link between a DBS and its access node. That is, a laser beam, which carries both data and energy, will be emitted from the access node to the DBS. Therefore, the DBS can simultaneously receive high-speed data streams and energy via the laser beam. The received energy is used to power the DBS to prolong its flight, and received data streams are delivered to IoT devices via existing RF channels. Several research challenges are identified in the context of SoarNet to further improve the network performance.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Computer Science Applications
- Electrical and Electronic Engineering