Dissertation Defense Announcement for Aly Sabri Abdalla – 06/08/2023 at 04:30 PM

May 23, 2023

Dissertation Title:
Physical Layer Security with Unmanned Aerial Vehicles for Advanced Wireless Networks

When: 06/08/2023 04:30 PM

Where: Simrall 228

Candidate: Aly Sabri Abdalla

Degree: Doctor of Philosophy in Electrical and Computer Engineering

Committee Members:

Dr. Vuk Marojevic,
Dr. John E. Ball,
Dr. Ali C. Gurbuz,
Dr. Bo Tang.


Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) are emerging as enablers for supporting many applications and services, such as precision agriculture, search and rescue, temporary network deployment, coverage extension, and security. UAVs are being considered for integration into emerging wireless networks as aerial users or network support nodes, e.g. aerial relays (ARs) or aerial base stations (ABSs).

In this thesis, we propose to leverage UAVs in wireless networks to contribute to physical layer techniques that enhance the security performance, specifically the availability, resilience, and confidentiality of advanced wireless networks and services. The focus of this Thesis is securing terrestrial cellular communications against eavesdropping with a cellular-connected UAV that is dispatched as an AR or ABS. The research presented in this thesis covers various communication scenarios: static and mobile users, single and multiple users, single and multiple eavesdroppers. We adopt air-to-ground (A2G) and ground-to-ground (G2G) communication channel models for single and multi-antenna configurations between aerial and ground nodes.

The main contribution of this Thesis is developing mathematical tools and applying machine learning algorithms for jointly optimizing UAV trajectory and communication parameters for improving the secrecy rate of wireless links. We present simulation results that show significant improvements in terms of channel secrecy rate that can be achieved when UAVs assist terrestrial wireless networks in various scenarios. In addition, numerical results demonstrate that the proposed solutions scale well with the number of users to be served. Our solutions are wireless protocol agnostic and complement traditional security approaches.