Latency versus Reliability in LEO Mega-Constellations: Terrestrial, Aerial, or Space Relay?

Gaofeng Pan, Jia Ye, Jianping An, Mohamed-Slim Alouini

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


Large low earth orbit (LEO) mega-constellation systems have been designed and deployed as a global backbone to provide ubiquitous connectivity across the world. However, due to the high traffic load/congestion arisen from the required numerous information relay and forwarding, it is a challenge for LEO mega-constellation systems to set up long-distance connections between two remote terrestrial users for real-time communications, which requires strict low latency. Other than inter-LEO satellite links (ILSL), introducing third-party relays, such as terrestrial, aerial, and satellite relays, is an alternative way to improve the latency performance for wide-area deliveries of real-time traffic. However, the reliability of the transmitted signal will unavoidably degrade, because of the increased path-loss attributed to long-distance relaying transmissions. Then, to reveal the principle that the third-party relays affect the latency and reliability, in this work, an LEO satellite-terrestrial communication scenario is considered, in which two remote terrestrial users communicate with each other via an LEO mega-constellation system. Analysis models are built up to investigate the end-to-end time delay and outage performance while considering different ILSL, terrestrial, aerial, and satellite relay assisted transmission scenarios. More specifically, by applying geometrical probability theory, exact/approximated closed-form analytical expressions have been derived for average time delay
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-1
Number of pages1
JournalIEEE Transactions on Mobile Computing
StatePublished - Apr 19 2022


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