Efficient Topology Management and Geographic Routing in High-Capacity Continental-Scale Airborne Networks Public Deposited

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  • March 20, 2019
  • Newton, Benjamin
    • Affiliation: College of Arts and Sciences, Department of Computer Science
  • Large-scale high-capacity communication networks among mobile airborne platforms are quickly becoming a reality. Today, both Google and Facebook are seeking to form networks among high-flying balloons and drones in an effort to provide Internet connections from the stratosphere to users on the ground. This dissertation proposes an alternative, namely using the cargo and passenger aircraft already in the skies as the principal components of such a network. My work presents the design of a network architecture to overcome the challenges of managing the topology of and routing data within these continental-scale highly-dynamic networks. The architecture relies on directional communication links, such as free-space optical communication links (FSO), to achieve high data rates over long distances. However, these state-of-the-art communication systems present new networking challenges. One such challenge is that of managing the physical topology of the network. Such a topology must be explicitly managed, ensuring that each directional data link is pointed at and connected with an appropriate neighbor (which is also pointing back) to yield an acceptable global topology. To overcome this challenge, a distributed topology management framework and associated topology generation algorithms were designed, implemented, and tested via simulation. The framework is capable of managing the topology of thousands of nodes in a continental-scale airborne network and has no communication overhead except that required to exchange position information among nearby nodes. A second component of the work concerns routing data at high data rates through a constantly changing network topology. To address this issue Topology Aware Geographic Routing (TAG), a position-based routing protocol was developed that strategically uses local topology information to make better local forwarding decisions, decreasing the number of hops required to deliver a packet, when compared with other geographic routing protocols. In addition, unlike other similar protocols, TAG is able to reliably deliver packets even when the topology changes while the packet is in flight. These protocols are tested and validated in a series of simulations where nodes trace the trajectories recorded from thousands of actual flights. These simulations indicate that the topology management framework and TAG are able to perform well in large-scale high-density conditions, over long durations, and are able to support tens of thousands of 1 Mbps flows.
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Rights statement
  • In Copyright
  • Alterovitz, Ron
  • Aikat, Jay
  • Jeffay, Kevin
  • Kaur, Jasleen
  • Mayer-Patel, Ketan
  • Doctor of Philosophy
Degree granting institution
  • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Graduate School
Graduation year
  • 2017

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