Backhaul-Aware User Association and Throughput Maximization in UAV-Aided Hybrid FSO/RF Network

Muhammad Nafees*, Shenjie Huang, John Thompson, Majid Safari

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

Free-space optical (FSO) communication is expected to play an indispensable role with high data rates and low system complexity in beyond fifth-generation (B5G) networks. However, infrequent adverse weather conditions can incapacitate its performance. The combination of FSO and radio frequency (RF) has emerged as an effective alternative for meeting the growing need for high data rates in wireless communication networks. Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) are also anticipated to play an instrumental role in B5G networks due to their flexible movement and deployment. In this paper, a UAV-aided hybrid FSO/RF backhauling system using a matching game theory (GT) and reinforcement learning (RL) framework is investigated. We deploy a UAV to provide a user offloading service to an already existing ground base station (GBS), which is facing a reduced backhaul capacity due to weather attenuation (e.g., fog). It is considered that the GBS has a pre-installed FSO backhaul connection to a macro-base station (MBS). However, during adverse weather conditions, the FSO backhaul is severely affected, compromising the reliability of the FSO link. With the reduced FSO backhaul capacity, the GBS needs an additional backhaul link to support its backhaul data transmission to the destination MBS. As a result, instead of building an expensive permanent parallel RF link for the rare foggy situation, a UAV can be hired to serve a portion of the users, thereby reducing the GBS load. The users perform a matching game-based procedure to select the base station (BS) of their choice to maximize their utility. The UAV is deployed at an optimal altitude, and the bandwidth partition between the GBS and the UAV is optimized to maximize the system throughput using RL. Real weather data from the cities of Edinburgh and London in the U.K. are used to evaluate the performance of the system. The numerical results show the superiority and effectiveness of the proposed scheme compared to conventional methods.

Original languageEnglish
Article number74
Issue number2
Early online date19 Jan 2023
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 19 Jan 2023

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • free space optics (FSO)
  • matching game theory (GT)
  • reinforcement learning (RL)
  • unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV)


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