Height Optimization and Resource Allocation for NOMA Enhanced UAV-Aided Relay Networks

Daosen Zhai, Huan Li, Xiao Tang, Ruonan Zhang, Zhiguo Ding, Fei Richard Yu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

52 Scopus citations


In this paper, we investigate the application of the non-orthogonal multiple access (NOMA) technique into the unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) aided relay networks. Specifically, we first incorporate the NOMA protocol with the decode-and-forward (DF) relay protocol to enhance the performance of the cell edge users in a macrocell network. Theoretical analysis indicates that the NOMA-DF-relay protocol outperforms the conventional orthogonal multiple access (OMA) based DF-relay protocol in terms of data rate. To fully exploit the advantages of the proposed protocol, we formulate a joint UAV height optimization, channel allocation, and power allocation problem with the objective to maximize the total data rate of the cell edge users under the coverage of the UAV. For solving the formulated problem effectively, we first analyze its property and employ the golden section method to propose a general framework to obtain the optimal height of the UAV. Then, we design a low-complexity iterative algorithm to solve the joint channel-and-power allocation problem based on the matching theory and the Lagrangian dual decomposition technique. Finally, simulation results demonstrate that the NOMA-DF-relay protocol is superior to the OMA-DF-relay protocol even when the system parameters are not optimized, and the proposed algorithms can further significantly improve the network performance in comparison with the other schemes.

Original languageBritish English
Article number9257576
Pages (from-to)962-975
Number of pages14
JournalIEEE Transactions on Communications
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2021


  • height optimization
  • Non-orthogonal multiple access
  • relay
  • resource allocation
  • unmanned aerial vehicle


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