Orchestrating Heterogeneous NTNs: from Stochastic Geometry to Resource Allocation

Matthew A. Bliss, Frederick J. Block, Thomas C. Royster, Christopher G. Brinton, David J. Love

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Terrestrial networks face limitations like restricted rural broadband coverage and service outages during disasters. To address these challenges, non-terrestrial networks (NTNs) are a promising alternative, utilizing aerial vehicles and satellites to enhance coverage and support diverse user applications. However, existing works lack comprehensive consideration of transmitter availability, resource allocation, and cost constraints, leading to suboptimal network performance and design. This work explores the potential of heterogeneous NTNs, including unmanned aerial vehicles, high-altitude platforms, and satellites. Using stochastic geometry, we analyze downlink performance while considering interruptions in communication service for both low-altitude transmitters (due to recharging needs) and high-altitude transmitters (due to fluctuating solar energy harvesting). Our analysis derives connection probabilities, representing the likelihood of transmitters establishing downlink connections with ground users. We propose a resource allocation framework using convex optimization techniques to maximize the downlink connection probability while considering economic costs and communication quality-of-service requirements. Numerical evaluations highlight the significance of incorporating low-Earth orbit satellites and demonstrate the influence of economic cost and SINR-related constraints. Results indicate that allocating resources to higher-altitude layers is favorable under stringent cost constraints, while lower-altitude layers are preferred under strict SINR constraints due to improved propagation conditions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-22
Number of pages22
JournalIEEE Transactions on Aerospace and Electronic Systems
StateAccepted/In press - 2024

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Aerospace Engineering
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


  • Costs
  • Downlink
  • energy limitations
  • Geometry
  • Heterogeneous non-terrestrial networks
  • Low earth orbit satellites
  • resource allocation
  • Resource management
  • Satellites
  • stochastic geometry
  • Transmitters


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