Exploring the Use of RPAs as 5G Points of Presence
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This paper presents an early exploration and preliminary results on the use of Remotely Piloted Aircrafts (RPA) as 5G points of presence. The use of RPAs in the 5G arena would enable a cost-effective deployment of functions over mobile nodes that could be integrated on demand into the programmable and unified 5G infrastructure, enhancing the capacity of the network to flexibly adapt to the particular service requirements in a geographical area. As a first step, we evaluate the feasibility and the cost, in terms of energy consumption, of using virtualisation techniques over resource-constrained aerial vehicle platforms, as a fundamental software technology in the evolution towards 5G. We complement this evaluation presenting a proof-of-concept that considers the use of these platforms to enable real-time 5G communications in emergency cases.