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Topology-aware Path Planning for In-Transit Coverage of Aerial Post-Disaster Communication Assistance Systems

Author:Julian Zobel, Benjamin Becker, Ralf Kundel, Patrick Lieser, Ralf Steinmetz
Date:November 2020
Kind:In proceedings - use for conference & workshop papers
Book title:Proceedings of the 45th IEEE Conference on Local Computer Networks (LCN)
Abstract:The increase in natural disasters that impair and destroy communication infrastructure over the last years simultaneously increased the importance of infrastructure-independent ad hoc communication. Especially delay-tolerant networks (DTNs) are able to provide basic communication functionality for civilians, but performance suffers from a typically highly intermittent network with clusters around important locations like shelters. Small Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) have proven to be efficient data ferries between clusters, but they require knowledge of cluster locations and also do not cover network nodes in transit between clusters. These in-transit nodes are therefore disconnected from the network for a long time and might miss critical messages like evacuation notices or hazard warnings. This paper provides two contributions for UAV-assisted post-disaster DTN communication. First, we present a novel approach to estimate the location of dynamically changing clusters in a post-disaster scenario. Second, we introduced a topology-aware path planning approach for UAV data ferry flights, covering in-transit node on their way between clusters. Our evaluation results highlight the quality requirements on topology information for an efficient application of Aerial Post-Disaster Communication Assistance Systems and demonstrate the positive impact of in-transit node coverage on the DTN's communication performance.
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