3D Cellular Network Architecture with Drones for beyond 5G
In this paper, a novel concept of three-dimensional (3D) cellular networks, that integrate drone base stations (drone-BS) and drone users (drone-UEs), is introduced. For this new 3D cellular network architecture, a novel framework for the deployment of drone-BSs and latency-minimal cell association for drone-UEs is proposed. For drone-BSs’ deployment, a tractable method based on the notion of truncated octahedron shapes is proposed that ensures full coverage for a given space with minimum number of drone-BSs. Then, an optimal 3D cell association scheme is determined such that the drone-UEs’ latency, considering transmission, computation, and backhaul latencies, is minimized. In particular, using optimal transport theory, the optimal 3D cell partitions are derived according to the spatial distribution of drone-UEs and the drone-BSs’ locations. Simulation results show that the proposed approach reduces the latency of drone-UEs compared to the classical cell association approach that uses a signal-to-interference-plus-noise ratio (SINR) criterion. In particular, the proposed approach yields a reduction of up to 46% in average latency compared to the SINR-based association. Also, it is shown that the proposed latency-optimal cell association improves the spectral efficiency of a 3D wireless cellular network of drones.