Infoscience

Journal article

Dynamic Routing for Flying Ad Hoc Networks

This paper reports experimental results on self-organizing wireless networks carried by small flying robots. Flying ad hoc networks (FANETs) composed of small unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) are flexible, inexpensive and fast to deploy. This makes them a very attractive technology for many civilian and military applications. Due to the high mobility of the nodes, maintaining a communication link between the UAVs is a challenging task. The topology of these networks is more dynamic than that of typical mobile ad hoc networks (MANETs) and of typical vehicle ad hoc networks (VANETs). As a consequence, the existing routing protocols designed for MANETs partly fail in tracking network topology changes. In this work, we compare two different routing algorithms for ad hoc networks: optimized link-state routing (OLSR), and predictive-OLSR (P-OLSR). The latter is an OLSR extension that we designed for FANETs; it takes advantage of the GPS information available on board. To the best of our knowledge, P-OLSR is currently the only FANET-specific routing technique that has an available Linux implementation. We present results obtained by both Media Access Control (MAC) layer emulations and real-world experiments. In the experiments, we used a testbed composed of two autonomous fixed-wing UAVs and a node on the ground. Our experiments evaluate the link performance and the communication range, as well as the routing performance. Our emulation and experimental results show that P-OLSR significantly outperforms OLSR in routing in the presence of frequent network topology changes.

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