On the 3-D Placement of Airborne Base Stations Using Tethered UAVs

Mustafa Abdelsalam Kishk, Ahmed Bader, Mohamed-Slim Alouini

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

55 Scopus citations


One of the main challenges slowing the deployment of airborne base stations (BSs) using unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) is the limited on-board energy and flight time. One potential solution to such problem, is to provide the UAV with power supply through a tether that connects the UAV to the ground. In this paper, we study the optimal placement of tethered UAVs (TUAVs) to minimize the average path-loss between the TUAV and a receiver located on the ground. Given that the tether has a maximum length, and the launching point of the TUAV (the starting point of the tether) is placed on a rooftop, the TUAV is only allowed to hover within a specific hovering region. Beside the maximum tether length, this hovering region also depends on the heights of the buildings surrounding the rooftop, which requires the inclination angle of the tether not to be below a given minimum value, in order to avoid tangling and ensure safety. We first formulate the optimization problem for such setup and provide some useful insights on its solution. Next, we derive upper and lower bounds for the optimal values of the tether length and inclination angle. We also propose a suboptimal closed-form solution for the tether length and its inclination angle that is based on maximizing the line-of-sight probability. Finally, we derive the probability distribution of the minimum inclination angle of the tether length. We show that its mean value varies depending on the environment from 10° in suburban environments to 31° in high rise urban environments. Our numerical results show that the derived upper and lower bounds on the optimal values of the tether length and inclination angle lead to tight suboptimal values of the average path-loss that are only 0-3 dBs above the minimum value.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-1
Number of pages1
JournalIEEE Transactions on Communications
StatePublished - 2020

Bibliographical note

KAUST Repository Item: Exported on 2020-10-01


Dive into the research topics of 'On the 3-D Placement of Airborne Base Stations Using Tethered UAVs'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this