A distributed approach for networked flying platform association with small cells in 5G+ networks

Syed Awais Wahab Shah, Tamer Khattab, Muhammad Zeeshan Shakir, Mazen Omar Hasna

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review

42 Citations (Scopus)
62 Downloads (Pure)


The densification of small-cell base stations in a 5G architecture is a promising approach to enhance the coverage area and facilitate the ever increasing capacity demand of end users. However, the bottleneck is an intelligent management of
a backhaul/fronthaul network for these small-cell base stations. This involves efficient association and placement of the backhaul hubs that connects these small-cells with the core network. Terrestrial hubs suffer from an inefficient non line of sight link limitations and unavailability of a proper infrastructure in an urban area. Seeing the popularity of flying platforms, we employ here an idea of using networked flying platform (NFP) such as unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), drones, unmanned balloons flying at different altitudes, as aerial backhaul hubs. The association problem of these NFP-hubs and small-cell base stations is formulated considering backhaul link and NFP related limitations such as maximum number of supported links and bandwidth. Then, this paper presents an efficient and distributed solution of the designed problem, which performs a greedy search in order to maximize the sum rate of the overall network. A favorable performance is observed via a numerical comparison of our proposed method with optimal exhaustive search algorithm in terms of sum rate and run-time speed.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publication2017 IEEE Global Communications Conference (GLOBECOM)
Place of PublicationSingapore
Number of pages7
ISBN (Electronic)9781509050192
Publication statusPublished - 15 Jan 2018


  • unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV)
  • network flying platforms (NFPs)
  • drones
  • small-cell networks
  • 5G
  • binary integer linear program
  • backhaul/fronthaul network


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