This paper surveys the literature on point-to-point (P2P) links for integrated satellite-aerial networks, which are envisioned to be among the key enablers of the sixth-generation (6G) of wireless networks vision. The paper first outlines the unique characteristics of such integrated large-scale complex networks, often denoted by spatial networks, and focuses on two particular space-air infrastructures, namely, satellites networks and high-altitude platforms (HAPs). The paper then classifies the connecting P2P communications links as satellite-to-satellite links at the same layer (SSLL), satellite-to-satellite links at different layers (SSLD), and HAP-to-HAP links (HHL). The paper surveys each layer of such spatial networks separately, and highlights the possible natures of the connecting links (i.e., radio-frequency or free-space optics) with a dedicated survey of the existing link-budget results. The paper, afterwards, presents the prospective merit of realizing such an integrated satellite-HAP network towards providing broadband services in under-served and remote areas. Finally, the paper sheds light on several future research directions in the context of spatial networks, namely large-scale network optimization, intelligent offloading, smart platforms, energy efficiency, multiple access schemes, distributed spatial networks, and routing.
- Integrated satellite-aerial networks
- broadband services
- high-altitude platforms
- spatial networks
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Computer Networks and Communications