UAV Communication Systems
The sales of UAVs, and UAV Communication Systems, are increasing as regulatory progress is being made and business are accepting UAV technologies and are preparing for large scale adoption of the UAVs into their business processes.
Not doing so will mean they fall behind their competition.
As with all technologies there always a drive to get things smaller, more powerful etc. There are always envelopes to push the, limits of. With UAVs the emphasis has been on endurance:
The longer you stay in the air, the more you can take advantage of whatever (expensive) payload sensor you have mounted on your UAV platform.
Often neglected in the focus on endurance is: Range. How far can you still get live feedback from your UAV. It does not help if your drone can fly far, but you cannot reach it, whether for control (telemetry) or live feedback (data).
UAV Communication System
In our increasingly connected world, IOT, Cloud computing, Mobile Edge computing, etc., security is a growing concern. International cybercrime is prevalent and as has been reported in the press, cyber-warfare has also become the new battleground between nations. This leaves UAVs and the communication systems particularly vulnerable.
UAV Communication CYBER RISKS
The risk of cyber attacks for for UAV platforms are very high. A framework overview of the various risks, threats, requirements and mitigation techniques are depicted below. It is very important ensure the security of the onboard systems as well as the UAV communication systems.
UAV frequency spectrum
UAVs generally use ISM (Industrial, Scientific and Medical) frequencies for connectivity which differs from one global region to another. This requires flexibility of the UAV communication system.
One of the big advantages of UAV systems is their ability to approach variable terrains. This same variable environment with changing topology, varying magnetic fields and unpredictable radio frequency traffic can however create significant problems for UAV communication systems.
Mission critical applications
UAVs extend the Range and Reach of everyday existence for both individuals and enterprises. This is particularly attractive for real-time mission-critical applications. At the same being able to ensure reliability and security of communications are equally mission critical.
In recent years, much research has gone into wireless networks that can be disseminated in areas without network infrastructure for instances such as disaster management or military operations. Using small UAVs it is possible to deploy mobile mesh networks that not only saves money but provides robust, flexible and secure networking in the shortest space of time.
What is Mobile mesh networking?
A mesh network is a network topology in which communication nodes connect directly, dynamically and non-hierarchically to as many other nodes as possible and cooperate with one another to efficiently route data from/to network clients.
Military/Disaster Management/Search and Rescue
Today, mobile mesh networks provide remote situational awareness during military operations. Small teams, use mesh networking radio devices to transmit relevant tactical information — such as drone feeds, voice communications, and secure digital messaging — in comms-denied environments.
Underlying technologies that enable mobile mesh networking include: Digital COFDM modulation, MIMO antenna techniques, and a flexible and robust mesh networking layer.
Mobile Mesh network features
A mesh network allows tactical field operations to provide high-speed, high-capacity communications capabilities to logistics personnel providing support to active operations and field-based units. It allows for increased communication channels and connectivity reliability, with reduced power consumption, increased range and lower probability of detection.
With a mesh system you also only have one network name so you can take advantage of what is called “seamless roaming”.
Long range Antenna trackers
To extend the communications support for extra-long UAV flight missions antenna trackers like the NEXTECH state of the art Long Range Antenna Tracker has been launched. This antenna tracker is a portable antenna system that is designed to deliver high, secure (AES256), bandwidth throughput at long ranges to keep aircraft in constant communication with ground crews. To read more click here.