Networking Issues for Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems

  • Eric W. Frew
  • Timothy X. Brown


This paper explores networking issues that arise as a result of the operational requirements of future applications of small unmanned aircraft systems. Small unmanned aircraft systems have the potential to create new applications and markets in civil domains, enable many disruptive technologies, and put considerable stress on air traffic control systems. The operational requirements lead to networking requirements that are mapped to three different conceptual axes that include network connectivity, data delivery, and service discovery. The location of small UAS networking requirements and limitations along these axes has implications on the networking architectures that should be deployed. The delay-tolerant mobile ad-hoc network architecture offers the best option in terms of flexibility, reliability, robustness, and performance compared to other possibilities. This network architecture also provides the opportunity to exploit controlled mobility to improve performance when the network becomes stressed or fractured.


Unmanned aircraft system UAS Airborne communication networks Controlled mobility Heterogeneous unmanned aircraft system Mobile ad-hoc networking Delay tolerant networking 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Aerospace Engineering Sciences DepartmentUniversity of ColoradoBoulderUSA
  2. 2.Interdisciplinary Telecommunications Program Electrical and Computer Engineering DepartmentUniversity of ColoradoBoulderUSA

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