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Architecture on FANET | FANET Communication architecture types

This page mentions Architecture of FANET (Flying Ad hoc Network). It describes elements of FANET communication architecture types (centralized, decentralized) with its interfaces

What is FANET ?

It is a subclass of MANET (Mobile Ad hoc Network). Following are the features of FANET system.
• Node Mobility : Very High
• Node Speed : RW-UAV : Medium (50 Km/h), FW-UAV: High (100 Km/h)
• Mobility Model : Regular for predetermined paths, but special mobility models for autonomous multi-UAV systems.
• Node Density : Very Low
• Topology Change : Fast
• Radio propagation model : LoS is available for most of the cases
• Power consumption and network lifetime : Energy efficiency for mini UAVs but not needed for small UAVs
• Computational Power : High
• Localization : GPS, AGPS, DGPS, IMU

FANET architecture
Image Credit : ResearchGate GmbH

Refer MANET vs VANET vs FANET >> for difference between MANET, VANET and FANET.

FANET Architecture

FANET architecture
Image Courtesy : MDPI.com

FANET architecture consists of swarm of small flying vehicles such as UAVs and Ground Control Station. UAV consists of camera, GPS and sensors. UAVs offer long range, LOS communication and environment resilient communication. UAVs are installed at different layers based on altitude viz. low, medium and high. High altitude platform based FANET architecture is shown in the figure-2 above.

UAV performs two tasks i.e. establishes U2U link with other UAVs and collects network information and relays the same to infrastructure GCS (Ground Control Station) via U2I link. As per these roles UAVs are called member UAVs and backbone UAVs. Backbone UAV collects data from member UAVs and relays the same to GCS.

There are two main types of FANET architectures to connect multiple UAVs as shown in the figure-3 viz. Centralized and de-centralized.

FANET communication architecture types

FANET communication architecture types

Centralized Architecture : This FANET architecture consists of GCS as central node and all other UAVs are directly connected to it. Hence data communication between any two UAVs is carried out via GCS. This is shown in figure-(3.a) above.
Decentralized Architecture : In this type of architecture, UAVs can communicate directly as well as indirectly. The decentralized architecture is further divided into three sub types viz. UAV ad-hoc network (fig-3b), multi-group UAV ad-hoc network (fig-3c), and multi-layer UAV ad-hoc network (fig-3d).

Following are the types of communications used in FANET network.
Inter-plane communication : The communication between UAVs of one plane and the other plane is called inter-plane communication.
Intra-plane communication : The communication between UAVs of the same plane is called intra-plane communication.
Ground Station communication : The communication between UAVs of any plane with the ground station or base station.
Ground Sensor communication : The communication between UAVs of any plane with sensors installed on the ground.

Wireless technologies for FANET

Various wireless technologies are used in FANET system based on various parameters such as mobility, range, data rate, latency and network topology. Moreover it further depends on application and mission. Short range communication technologies are WiFi (802.11 series), Zigbee (802.15.4), Bluetooth (802.15.1) etc. Long range communication technologies are Satellite and various cellular standards such as 2G (GSM), 3G (UMTS), 4G (WiMAX, LTE), 5G etc.

Air to air links are used among UAVs for data delivery. Heterogeneous radio interfaces such as zigbee, wifi are used for A2A links. Ground stations function as stationary WSNs and VANETs as control stations. UAV to WSN link may be used for collaborative sensing and data muling.

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