Improving the Energy Efficiency of a LoRaWAN by a UAV-based Gateway

The Internet of Things (IoT) devices and applications are spreading all over around us to become the cardiovascular infrastructure for the data of the cyber-physical systems of the future. The implementation of a reliable collection of telemetry data within various application domains, including medicine, safety, and security, industry, smart cities, or environmental monitoring, to name just a few, is among the major challenges still to be solved. Importantly, many of the use cases imply a huge geographic area span or operation in remote areas with limited infrastructure availability and poor reachability. To address these scenarios in this paper, we propose a combination of the two technologies the Low Power Wide Area Network (LPWAN) and the Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs). Specifically, we study the energy utility and the communication performance of introducing a UAV-based GW into an LPWAN based on the LoRaWAN technology. The results of our simulations show that a UAV-based GW enables to reduce the mean energy consumption for communication in the network by up to 59%. Depending on the UAV speed, the communication performance in terms of the packet delivery ratio can either increase or decrease by several percentage points.