Point-to-Point Communication in Integrated Satellite-Aerial Networks: State-of-the-art and Future Challenges

12/11/2020 ∙ by Nasir Saeed, et al. ∙ 0

This paper overviews point-to-point (P2P) links for integrated satellite-aerial networks, which are envisioned to be among the key enablers of the sixth-generation (6G) of wireless networks vision. The paper first outlines the unique characteristics of such integrated large-scale complex networks, often denoted by spatial networks, and focuses on two particular space-air infrastructures, namely, satellites networks and high-altitude platforms (HAPs). The paper then classifies the connecting P2P communications links as satellite-to-satellite links at the same layer (SSLL), satellite-to-satellite links at different layers (SSLD), and HAP-to-HAP links (HHL). The paper overviews each layer of such spatial networks separately, and highlights the possible natures of the connecting links (i.e., radio-frequency or free-space optics) with a dedicated overview to the existing link-budget results. The paper, afterwards, presents the prospective merit of realizing such an integrated satellite-HAP network towards providing broadband services in under-served and remote areas. Finally, the paper sheds light on several future research directions in the context of spatial networks, namely large-scale network optimization, intelligent offloading, smart platforms, energy efficiency, multiple access schemes, and distributed spatial networks.

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