Aerial Bridge: A Secure Tunnel Against Eavesdropping in Terrestrial-Satellite Networks

Qubeijian Wang, Hao Wang, Wen Sun, Nan Zhao, Hong Ning Dai, Wei Zhang

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review


Terrestrial-satellite networks (TSNs) can provide worldwide users with ubiquitous and seamless network services. Meanwhile, malicious eavesdropping is posing tremendous challenges on secure transmissions of TSNs due to their widescale wireless coverage. In this paper, we propose an aerial bridge scheme to establish secure tunnels for legitimate transmissions in TSNs. With the assistance of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), massive transmission links in TSNs can be secured without impacts on legitimate communications. Owing to the stereo position of UAVs and the directivity of directional antennas, the constructed secure tunnel can significantly relieve confidential information leakage, resulting in the precaution of wiretapping. Moreover, we establish a theoretical model to evaluate the effectiveness of the aerial bridge scheme compared with the ground relay, non-protection, and UAV jammer schemes. Furthermore, we conduct extensive simulations to verify the accuracy of theoretical analysis and present useful insights into the practical deployment by revealing the relationship between the performance and other parameters, such as the antenna beamwidth, flight height and density of UAVs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)8096-8113
Number of pages18
JournalIEEE Transactions on Wireless Communications
Issue number11
Early online date23 Mar 2023
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2023

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Applied Mathematics
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering
  • Computer Science Applications

User-Defined Keywords

  • Eavesdropping probability
  • legitimate connectivity
  • stochastic geometry
  • terrestrial-satellite network (TSNs)
  • unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs)


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