Post-disaster 4G/5G Network Rehabilitation using Drones: Solving Battery and Backhaul Issues

by   Mohamed Y Selim, et al.

Drone-based communications is a novel and attractive area of research in cellular networks. It provides several degrees of freedom in time (available on demand), space (mobile) and it can be used for multiple purposes (self-healing, offloading, coverage extension or disaster recovery). This is why the wide deployment of drone-based communications has the potential to be integrated in the 5G standard. In this paper, we utilize a grid of drones to provide cellular coverage to disaster-struck regions where the terrestrial infrastructure is totally damaged due to earthquake, flood, etc. We propose solutions for the most challenging issues facing drone networks which are limited battery energy and limited backhauling. Our proposed solution based mainly on using three types of drones; tethered backhaul drone (provides high capacity backhauling), untethered powering drone (provides on the fly battery charging) and untethered communication drone (provides cellular connectivity). Hence, an optimization problem is formulated to minimize the energy consumption of drones in addition to determining the placement of these drones and guaranteeing a minimum rate for the users. The simulation results show that we can provide unlimited cellular service to the disaster-affected region under certain conditions with a guaranteed minimum rate for each user.


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