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Publication Date

Manuscript Submission Deadline

Feature Topic

Call for Papers

Today, access equality is an essential humanitarian need. During the COVID-19 Pandemic, we have become more reliant on connectivity to the Internet, not only to communicate and/or browse and obtain information but for a diverse set of essential services, ranging from basic personal and societal activities to accessing government and health systems. Yet, despite this increasing importance of connectivity, a large proportion of our global population is still unconnected or under-connected to the Internet. The emerging low Earth orbit (LEO) mega-constellation networks have the potential to address this problem and bridge the ever-existent digital divide through their global footprint. In addition to their cost-effective launch systems, the capabilities of LEO satellites are significantly higher than their classical counterparts as they are software configurable; hence they are subject to easy reconfiguration.

The emerging mega-constellations have the potential to serve isolated or remote islands and communities, and fulfill the needs of landlocked areas and/or countries with limited infrastructure investments. However, the provision of access equality would still require architectural, management, and operational changes. These changes will involve new design challenges such as energy self-sustainability or efficient backhauling in the presence of high-speed in-space nodes. The role of artificial intelligence (AI) in these softwarized satellite networks will also be significant to seamlessly integrate them with terrestrial networks. 

This Feature Topic (FT) solicits papers focusing on the role LEO Mega-Constellation Networks will play in advancing access equality, including the emerging architectural approaches and deployment scenarios in this regard. Areas of interest include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Design and analysis of satellite mega-constellations for access equality
  • Architectural solutions to minimize the need for terrestrial infrastructure 
  • Requirements, use-cases, affordable architectural solutions
  • Network and resource management in integrated terrestrial-satellite networks 
  • The role of aerial network elements, high altitude platform stations, and UAVs, for access equality
  • Global spectrum harmonization efforts
  • The role of satellite networks for edge computing and caching 
  • Reduction of the impact of pandemics through hyper-connectivity
  • Renewable energy solutions for access equality
  • The expected role of community networks
  • Terahertz (THz) and free-space optical (FSO) communications for LEO satellite networks
  • Trials and simulation platforms

Submission Guidelines

Manuscripts should conform to the standard format as indicated in the Information for Authors section of the Manuscript Submission Guidelines of the IEEE Communications Magazine. Please, check these guidelines carefully before submitting since submissions not complying with them will be administratively rejected without review.

All manuscripts to be considered for publication must be submitted by the deadline through Manuscript Central. Select the “Apr2022/LEO Satellites & Access Equality” topic from the drop-down menu of Topic/Series titles. Please observe the dates specified here below, noting that there will be no extension of the submission deadline.

Important Dates (Tentative)

Manuscript Submission Deadline: 15 September 2021, 3:00 pm US Eastern Time extended to 25 September 2021, 3:00 pm US Eastern Time
Decision Notification: 15 December, 2021
Final Manuscript Due: 1 February 2022
Publication Date: April 2022

Guest Editors

Gunes Karabulut Kurt
Polytechnique Montréal, Canada

Ángeles Vázquez-Castro
Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, Spain

Ejder Bastug
Nokia Bell Labs, France