- IEEE Internet of Things Journal
Nonorthogonal multiple access (NOMA) significantly improves the connectivity opportunities and enhances the spectrum efficiency (SE) in the fifth generation and beyond (B5G) wireless communications. Meanwhile, emerging B5G services demand for higher SE in the NOMA-based wireless communications. However, traditional ground-to-ground (G2G) communications are hard to satisfy these demands, especially for the cellular uplinks. To solve these challenges, this article proposes a multiple unmanned-aerial-vehicles (UAVs)-aided uplink NOMA method. In detail, multiple hovering UAVs relay data for a half of ground users (GUs) and share the spectrums with the other GUs that communicate with the base station (BS) directly. Furthermore, this article proposes a K-means clustering-based UAV deployment scheme and location-based user pairing (UP) scheme to optimize the transceiver association for the multiple UAVs-aided NOMA uplinks. Finally, a sum power minimization-based resource allocation problem is formulated with the lowest Quality-of-Service (QoS) constraints. We solve it with the message-passing algorithm and evaluate the superior performances of the proposed scheduling and paring schemes on SE and energy efficiency (EE). Extensive simulations are conducted to compare the performances of the proposed schemes with those of the single UAV-aided NOMA uplinks, G2G-based NOMA uplinks, and the proposed multiple UAVs-aided uplinks with a facility location framework-based UAV deployment. Simulation results demonstrate that the proposed multiple UAVs deployment and UP-based NOMA scheme significantly improves the EE and the SE of the cellular uplinks at the cost of only a little relaying power consumption of UAVs.