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Aerial LTE Demonstration Report



Maxwell Maurice, Sam Ray


In this paper, we investigate a Long Term Evolution (LTE) network mounted on an airborne small unmanned aircraft system (sUAS) to provide broadband connectivity to smartphone devices on the ground. The use case is a public safety scenario where users require broadband connectivity in an isolated area. We evaluate practical constraints for the delivery platform and the LTE system. We propose research questions on how the orbit of a fixed-wing sUAS would affect the coverage area provided by the airborne small cell, and we describe the test plan used to investigate our questions. We present data on multiple field experiments and provide recommendations for future realistic deployments.
NIST Interagency/Internal Report (NISTIR) - 8380
Report Number


Aerial Networks, Broadband, Deployable, Fixed-wing, LTE, Private LTE, Public Safety, sUAS


Maurice, M. and Ray, S. (2021), Aerial LTE Demonstration Report, NIST Interagency/Internal Report (NISTIR), National Institute of Standards and Technology, Gaithersburg, MD, [online],, (Accessed April 18, 2024)
Created July 14, 2021, Updated November 29, 2022