A Novel Twofold Approach to Enhance NB-IoT MAC Procedure in NTN


Amatetti C., Alsenwi M., Chougrani H., Vanelli-Coralli A., Palattella M.R.


IEEE Journal on Selected Areas in Communications, vol. 42, n° 5, pp. 1453-1464, 2024


Through the transition from 5G to 6G, a significant rise in the number of Internet of Things (IoT) devices is anticipated, enabling pervasive and uninterrupted connectivity for several applications, in different verticals. Coping with the substantial influx of IoT devices and fulfilling the high capacity demands of different IoT technologies, such as NB-IoT, will necessitate the involvement of Non-Terrestrial Networks (NTNs), which will serve as crucial complements to terrestrial systems, enhancing the availability, resilience, and coverage of the network and will guarantee cost/benefit for some services and will fully satisfy some key requirements. Nevertheless, a primary obstacle to be faced when integrating IoT terrestrial communication systems in NTN, in particular with Non-Geostationary satellites, lies in the short visibility time of the flying platform due to its high speed. The latter introduces criticalities in various communication phases, including the Random Access (RA) procedure. In a highly congested scenario, the large Round Trip Delay and a limited visibility window, which varies for each user within the satellite's coverage area, contribute to reducing the number of users successfully concluding the RA procedure. In this paper, to enhance the percentage of users who successfully conclude the RA, we introduce the concept of Coverage Enhancement Levels in time and a novel backoff mechanism, namely Smart Backoff, that leverages the beam coverage visibility period of individual users to adjust the random backoff interval. The numerical results obtained from our proposed scheme substantiate significant improvements compared to the standard backoff scheme. Specifically, our approach yields an increase of up to 16% per channel in the percentage of users who successfully complete the RA process.



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