Owing to the explosive growth of requirements of rapid emergency communication response and accurate observation services, airborne communication networks (ACNs) have received much attention from both industry and academia. ACNs are subject to heterogeneous networks that are engineered to utilize satellites, high-altitude platforms (HAPs), and low-altitude platforms (LAPs) to build communication access platforms. Compared to terrestrial wireless networks, ACNs are characterized by frequently changed network topologies and more vulnerable communication connections. Furthermore, ACNs have the demand of the seamless integration of heterogeneous networks such that the network quality-of-service (QoS) can be improved. Thus, designing mechanisms and protocols for ACNs poses many challenges. To solve these challenges, extensive research has been conducted. The objective of this special issue is to disseminate the contributions in the field of ACNs. To present this special issue with the necessary background and offer an overall view on this field, three key areas of ACNs are covered. Specifically, this paper covers LAP-based communication networks, HAPbased communication networks, and integrated ACNs. For each area, this paper addresses the particular issues and reviews major mechanisms. This paper also points out future research directions and challenges.

Additional Metadata
Keywords Airborne communication networks (ACNs), heterogeneous networks, high-altitude-platform-based communication networks, integrated airborne communication networks, low-altitude-platform-based communication networks
Persistent URL dx.doi.org/10.1109/JSAC.2018.2864423
Journal IEEE Journal on Selected Areas in Communications
Citation
Cao, X. (Xianbin), Yang, P. (Peng), Alzenad, M. (Mohamed), Xi, X. (Xing), Wu, D. (Dapeng), & Yanikomeroglu, H. (2018). Airborne Communication Networks: A Survey. IEEE Journal on Selected Areas in Communications. doi:10.1109/JSAC.2018.2864423