Showing posts with label Drones & UAVs. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Drones & UAVs. Show all posts

Tuesday 28 June 2022

3GPP Explains TSG CT Work on UAS Connectivity, Identification and Tracking

Drones, technically Unmanned Aerial Vehicles/Systems or UAVs/UASs, have been a subject of interest for a very long time due to the wide variety of use cases they can offer. In the recent issue of 3GPP Highlights newsletter, Lena Chaponniere, 3GPP Working Group CT1 Vice-Chair has written an article about TSG CT work on UAS Connectivity, Identification and Tracking. Interestingly, the 3GPP abbreviation for UAS is slightly different, Uncrewed Aerial Systems.

Quoting from the newsletter: 

One of the defining drivers of 5G is the expansion beyond traditional mobile broadband to provide solutions meeting the needs of vertical industries.

A very good example of 3GPP rising up to this challenge is the work done in Release 17 to use cellular connectivity to support Uncrewed Aerial Systems (UAS), thereby enabling this vertical to benefit from the ubiquitous coverage, high reliability, QoS, robust security, and seamless mobility provided by the 3GPP system.

A key component of this work took place in CT Working Groups, which under the leadership of Sunghoon Kim (CT Work Item rapporteur) and Waqar Zia (rapporteur of new specifications TS 29.255 and TS 29.256) developed the necessary protocols and APIs to meet the service requirements specified in 3GPP SA1 and the architectural enhancements specified in 3GPP SA2, as part of the Release 17 Work Item on ‘ID_UAS’.

The key functions of the 3GPP architecture for ID_UAS are depicted in the following figure:

The work in CT Working Groups focused on specifying support for the following features:

UAV remote identification: The CAA (Civil Aviation Administration)-Level UAV ID was introduced in the 3GPP system. It is a globally unique, electronically and physically readable, and tamper resistant identification which allows the receiving entity to address the correct USS for retrieval of UAV information and can be assigned solely by the USS, via means outside the scope of 3GPP, or assigned by the USS with assistance from 3GPP system, whereby the USS delegates the role of “resolver” of the CAA-Level UAV ID to the UAS NF.

AV USS authentication and authorization (UUAA): The first step for the owner of the UAV is to register the UAV with the USS, via a procedure outside the scope of 3GPP, which can take place offline or using internet connectivity. During this procedure, the CAA-level UAV ID is configured in the UAV and the aviationlevel information (e.g. UAV serial number, pilot information, UAS operator, etc.) is provided to the USS.

The UE at the UAV then registers with the 3GPP system by using existing procedures for 3GPP primary authentication, with the MNO credentials stored in the USIM.

After successful authentication of the UE, the UUAA procedure is performed, to enable the 3GPP Core Network to verify that the UAV has successfully registered with the USS. In 5GS, this procedure can take place during the 3GPP registration, or during the establishment of a PDU session for UAS services.

For the former, CT1 extended the registration procedure in TS 24.501 to enable the UE to indicate its CAA-Level UAV ID into a new container (Service-level-AA container) included in the Registration Request message, which triggers the AMF to initiate UUAA with the USS by invoking the Nnef_Authentication service toward the UAS NF, as specified by CT4 in new specification TS 29.256, and the UAS NF to invoke the Naf_Authentication service toward the USS, as specified by CT3 in new specification TS 29.255.

For the latter, CT1 extended the PDU session establishment procedure in TS 24.501 to enable the UE to indicate its CAA-Level UAV ID via the Service-level-AA container included in the PDU Session Establishment Request message, which triggers the SMF to initiate UUAA with the USS via the UAS NF by invoking the services mentioned above. In order to enable exchanging the authentication messages between the UE and the USS, CT1 specified a new Session Management procedure in TS 24.501, in which the SMF sends a Service-level Authentication Command to the UE in a Downlink NAS Transport message. The UE replies to this command with a Service-level Authentication Complete carried in an Uplink NAS Transport message. In EPS, the UUAA procedure takes place during PDN connection establishment, and the information exchanged to that end between the UAV and the PGW is carried in the Service-level-AA container included in the ePCO

C2 communication over cellular connectivity: C2 communication over cellular connectivity consists of the UAV establishing a user plane connection to receive C2 messages from a UAVC, or to report telemetry data to a UAVC. Authorization for C2 communication by the USS is required and includes authorization for pairing of the UAV with a UAVC, as well as flight authorization for the UAV.

C2 communication authorization may be performed:

  • during the UUAA procedure (if UUAA is carried out at PDU session/PDN connection establishment) when the UAV requests establishment of a PDU Session/PDN connection for both UAS services and C2 communication
  • during PDU session modification/UE requested bearer resource modification when the UAV requests to use an existing PDU session/PDN connection for C2 communication
  • during a new PDU session/PDN connection establishment, if the UAV requests to use a separate PDU Session/PDN connection for C2 communication

To support this, CT1 extended the PDU session establishment and modification procedures in TS 24.501 to enable inclusion of the CAA-level UAV ID and an application layer payload containing information for UAVC pairing and for UAV flight authorization in the Service-level-AA container carried in the PDU Session Establishment Request and PDU Session Modification Request messages. The ePCO Information Element in TS 24.008 was also extended to enable it to include the above-mentioned information.

UAV location reporting and tracking: UAV location reporting and tracking was specified by CT3 and CT4 by re-using the existing Nnef_EventExposure service specified in TS 29.522 with the UAS NF acting as NEF/SCEF and interacting with other network functions (e.g. GMLC and AMF/MME) to support UAV tracking. The following tracking modes were specified:

  • UAV location reporting mode: the USS subscribes to the UAS NF UAV to be notified of the location of the UAV, and can indicate the required location accuracy and whether the request is for immediate reporting or deferred reporting (e.g. periodic reporting)
  • UAV presence monitoring mode: the USS subscribes for the event report of UAV moving in or out of a given geographic area
  • List of Aerial UEs in a geographic area: the USS requests the UAS NF for reporting a list of the UAVs in given geographic area and served by the PLMN.

The PDF of newsletter is available here.

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Monday 5 August 2019

An Introduction to Non-Terrestrial Networks (NTN)


I made a short introductory tutorial explaining what is meant by Non-Terrestrial Networks. There is is lot of work on this that is planned for Release-17. Slides and video below.






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Wednesday 3 April 2019

Drones at Mobile World Congress 2019 and my upcoming webinar on 5G at #MWC19


Mobile World Congress featured many different drones for many different purposes and applications. While I wouldn't claim to have seen all or even most of them, I managed to go to the GSMA seminar 'The Internet of the Skies – Connecting Drones'. Key topics of the seminar included:

  • The support of safe BVLOS (Beyond Visual Line Of Sight) and autonomous operation of unmanned aircraft (UA)
  • The use of mobile connectivity to enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of UA, by enabling BVLOS operation, supporting real-time data transmissions from on-board cameras and sensors
  • Mobile connectivity requirements for registration and identification, flight planning and approval, the transmission of meteorological information, geo-fencing, geo-caging and tracking

The best thing is that the presentations are available for anyone interested. Link at the bottom of this post. I have embedded some videos from the seminar in the playlist as well.


During the seminar, Telef├┤nica talked about their fire fighting Antifire drones which are helping detect, survey and combat fires before, during and after a fire breaks out.


Turkcell talked about their Dronecell. The 5G connected drone can be used for many different purposes from inspection, photos and videos to providing temporary coverage in case of disasters. One of the interesting use cases was also surveillance (see video). They are also working with a local drone company, see here. For Dronecell they are testing with different vendors like Huawei, Airspan, etc. and also have their own hardware (see pic above).


The Latvian mobile operator Mans LMT talked about how Drones in combination with Sensors and AI can provide endless opportunities. In addition drones can also be used for delivering goods and rescue missions. Finally, LMT with Lufthansa Systems are working on a mobile, connected UTM platform for drone solutions and traffic management (see video below).



In addition enjoyed a virtual ride in Ooredoo’s 5G-enabled Aerial Taxi. Also happened to bump into Robert Joyce who used to work for Telefonica O2 UK and used to be very active in O2's small cells rollout during 2012 London Olympics. See here, here & here.

Huawei showed SkySite: A Drone with 5G base station & '5G Book' RRU. I blogged about it here.

Saudi Telecom Company (STC) had a drone flight simulator. I didn't see it but tweet below


There were 10 Catalonian companies showing smart drones. Tweet below



Finally, Samsung Electronics, Cisco and Orange unveiled "A Drone carrying a very low latency, high-quality video system is piloted from the Orange booth at the Fira de Barcelona. The drone, which is located outdoors at an Orange datacenter, carries a 5G router (CPE) that is used to transfer commands to the drone and transmit a high-quality video feed with low latency. At the Orange booth, the pilot can be seen controlling the drone by using a 5G tablet. Aeromedia, a leading drone operator, collaborated in this demo." Sadly, I didn't manage to find this and couldn't see any videos either.


Here is a video playlist of Drones from MWC.






I am also running a webinar next week looking at 5G @ MWC 2019 on behalf of Parallel Wireless (#PWTechTrain) . Along with drones, I plan to talk about lot more things. Register here.


Presentations from "MWC19 Barcelona Seminar: The Internet of the Skies – Connecting Drones" available here.

GSMA IoT contains good amount of information on drones. Link.


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