Digital Twin Evolution for Hard-to-Follow Aeronautical Ad-Hoc Networks in Beyond 5G

Bilen T., Canberk B., Duong T. Q.

IEEE Communications Standards Magazine, vol.7, no.1, pp.4-12, 2023 (Scopus) identifier


The aircrafts were top of the places that disrupted the seamless connectivity requirement of 5G and beyond. The Aeronautical Ad-hoc Networks (AANETs) take the attention of both industry and academia to satisfy this connectivity requirement with the low cost, easy deployment, and continuous coverage features. On the other hand, the ultra-dynamic characteristics of AANET with unstructured topology make its environment hard-to-follow. Here, Artificial Intelligence (AI)-based methodologies have an essential role in handling the management complexity of this hard-to-follow environment. However, these methodologies increase the computational complexity of aircraft due to the continuous update, convergence time, and scalability issues. At that point, we propose the utilization of the Digital Twin (DT) technology to handle the management complexity of AANET while solving the main issues of AI-based methodologies on it. The DT can virtually replicate the physical AANET components through closed-loop feedback in real-time. Therefore, this work introduces the utilization of DT technology for the AANET orchestration and, accordingly, proposes a DT-enabled AANET (DT-AANET) topology management framework. This framework consists of the Physical AANET Twin and Controller, including Digital AANET Twin with Operational Module. Here, the Digital AANET Twin virtually represents the physical environment while the operational module executes the AI-based computations on them through unsupervised learning-based training or supervised learning-based prediction. Finally, we present a case study based on Learning Vector Quantization (LVQ) to show the usability of the proposed framework and support this through evaluation results.