University of Oulu

J. Kokkoniemi, J. M. Jornet, V. Petrov, Y. Koucheryavy and M. Juntti, "Channel Modeling and Performance Analysis of Airplane-Satellite Terahertz Band Communications," in IEEE Transactions on Vehicular Technology, vol. 70, no. 3, pp. 2047-2061, March 2021, doi: 10.1109/TVT.2021.3058581

Channel modeling and performance analysis of airplane-satellite terahertz band communications

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Author: Kokkoniemi, Joonas1; Jornet, Josep M.2; Petrov, Vitaly3;
Organizations: 1Centre for Wireless Communications, University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland
2Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Northeastern University, Boston, MA, USA
3Tampere University, Tampere, Finland and is now with Nokia Bell Labs, Helsinki, Finland
4Unit of Electrical Engineering, Tampere University, Tampere, Finland
Format: article
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 4.3 MB)
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Language: English
Published: Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, 2021
Publish Date: 2021-04-14


Wireless connectivity in airplanes is becoming more important, demanded, and common. One of the largest bottlenecks with the in-flight Internet is that the airplane is far away from both the satellites and the ground base stations during most of the flight time. Maintaining a reliable and high-rate wireless connection with the airplane over such a long-range link thus becomes a challenge. Microwave frequencies allow for long link distances but lack the data rate to serve up to several hundreds of potential onboard customers. Higher bands in the millimeter-wave spectrum (30 GHz–300 GHz) have, therefore, been utilized to overcome the bandwidth limitations. Still, the per-user throughput with state-of-the-art millimeter-wave systems is an order of magnitude lower than the one available with terrestrial wireless networks. In this paper, we take a step further and study the channel characteristics for the terahertz band (THz, 0.3 THz–10 THz) in order to map the feasibility of this band for aviation. We first propose a detailed channel model for aerial THz communications taking into account both the non-flat Earth geometry and the main features of the frequency-selective THz channel. We then apply this model to estimate the characteristics of aerial THz links in different conditions. We finally determine the altitudes where the use of airplane-to-satellite THz connection becomes preferable over the airplane-to-ground THz link. Our results reveal that the capacity of the airborne THz link may reach speeds ranging from 50–150 Gbps, thus enabling cellular-equivalent data rates to the passengers and staff during the entire flight.

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Series: IEEE transactions on vehicular technology
ISSN: 0018-9545
ISSN-E: 1939-9359
ISSN-L: 0018-9545
Volume: 70
Issue: 3
Pages: 2047 - 2061
DOI: 10.1109/TVT.2021.3058581
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 213 Electronic, automation and communications engineering, electronics
Funding: This work was supported in part by the Horizon 2020, European Union’s Framework Programme for Research and Innovation, under grant agreement no. 761794 (TERRANOVA) and no. 871464 (ARIADNE). It was also supported in part by the Academy of Finland 6Genesis Flagship under grant no. 318927. It was also supported in part by the US Air Force Research Laboratory Grant FA8750-20-1-0200.
EU Grant Number: (871464) ARIADNE - Artificial Intelligence Aided D-band Network for 5G Long Term Evolution
(761794) TERRANOVA - Terabit/s Wireless Connectivity by TeraHertz innovative technologies to deliver Optical Network Quality of Experience in Systems beyond 5G
Academy of Finland Grant Number: 318927
Detailed Information: 318927 (Academy of Finland Funding decision)
Copyright information: © 2021 The Authors. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License. For more information, see