Tampere University of Technology

TUTCRIS Research Portal

Concept design and performance evaluation of UAV-based backhaul link with antenna steering

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review


Original languageEnglish
Article number8533583
Pages (from-to)473-483
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Communications and Networks
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2018
Publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


At present, cellular coverage in many rural areas remains intermittent. Mobile operators may not be willing to deploy expensive network infrastructure to support low-demand regions. For that reason, solutions for the rapid deployment of base stations in areas with insufficient or damaged operator infrastructure are emerging. Utilization of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) or drones serving as data relays holds significant promise for delivering on-demand connectivity as well as providing public safety services or aiding in recovery after communication infrastructure failures caused by natural disasters. The use of UAVs in provisioning high-rate radio connectivity and bringing it to remote locations is also envisioned as a potential application for fifth-generation (5G) communication systems. In this study, we introduce a prototype solution for an aerial base station, where connectivity between a drone and a base station is provided via a directional microwave link. Our prototype is equipped with a steering mechanism driven by a dedicated algorithm to support such connectivity. Our experimental results demonstrate early-stage connectivity and signal strength measurements that were gathered with our prototype. Our results are also compared against the free-space model. These findings support the emerging vision of aerial base stations as part of the 5G ecosystem and beyond.


  • Antenna steering, drone, measurements, prototype

Publication forum classification

Downloads statistics

No data available