Document Type



Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Electrical Engineering

First Advisor's Name

Ismail Guvenc

First Advisor's Committee Title

Co-Committee Chair

Second Advisor's Name

Kemal Akkaya

Second Advisor's Committee Title

Co-Committee chair

Third Advisor's Name

Ahmed S. Ibrahim

Third Advisor's Committee Title

Committee member

Fourth Advisor's Name

Leonardo Bobadilla

Fourth Advisor's Committee Title

Committee member

Fifth Advisor's Name

Stephen Glass

Fifth Advisor's Committee Title

Committee member


LTE-Advanced, Small Cells, Reduced Power ABS, FeICIC, 5G, UAVs, Public Safety Communications, Interference Coordination, USRP, SDR, Machine Learning, Heuristic Algorithms, Genetic Algorithm, eHSGA Algorithm

Date of Defense



Ensuring ubiquitous mission-critical public safety communications (PSC) to all the first responders in the public safety network is crucial at an emergency site. The first responders heavily rely on mission-critical PSC to save lives, property, and national infrastructure during a natural or human-made emergency. The recent advancements in LTE/LTE-Advanced/5G mobile technologies supported by unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) have great potential to revolutionize PSC.

However, limited spectrum allocation for LTE-based PSC demands improved channel capacity and spectral efficiency. An additional challenge in designing an LTE-based PSC network is achieving at least 95% coverage of the geographical area and human population with broadband rates. The coverage requirement and efficient spectrum use in the PSC network can be realized through the dense deployment of small cells (both terrestrial and aerial). However, there are several challenges with the dense deployment of small cells in an air-ground heterogeneous network (AG-HetNet). The main challenges which are addressed in this research work are integrating UAVs as both aerial user and aerial base-stations, mitigating inter-cell interference, capacity and coverage enhancements, and optimizing deployment locations of aerial base-stations.

First, LTE signals were investigated using NS-3 simulation and software-defined radio experiment to gain knowledge on the quality of service experienced by the user equipment (UE). Using this understanding, a two-tier LTE-Advanced AG-HetNet with macro base-stations and unmanned aerial base-stations (UABS) is designed, while considering time-domain inter-cell interference coordination techniques. We maximize the capacity of this AG-HetNet in case of a damaged PSC infrastructure by jointly optimizing the inter-cell interference parameters and UABS locations using a meta-heuristic genetic algorithm (GA) and the brute-force technique. Finally, considering the latest specifications in 3GPP, a more realistic three-tier LTE-Advanced AG-HetNet is proposed with macro base-stations, pico base-stations, and ground UEs as terrestrial nodes and UABS and aerial UEs as aerial nodes. Using meta-heuristic techniques such as GA and elitist harmony search algorithm based on the GA, the critical network elements such as energy efficiency, inter-cell interference parameters, and UABS locations are all jointly optimized to maximize the capacity and coverage of the AG-HetNet.







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