Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science


Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering

First Advisor

Gilbert L. Peterson, PhD.


Over the past decade, there has been a dramatic increase in the use of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) for military, commercial, and private applications. Critical to maintaining control and a use for these systems is the development of wireless networking systems [1]. Computer simulation has increasingly become a key player in airborne networking developments though the accuracy and credibility of network simulations has become a topic of increasing scrutiny [2-5]. Much of the inaccuracies seen in simulation are due to inaccurate modeling of the physical layer of the communication system. This research develops a physical layer model that combines antenna modeling using computational electromagnetics and the two-ray propagation model to predict the received signal strength. The antenna is modeled with triangular patches and analyzed by extending the antenna modeling algorithm by Sergey Makarov, which employs Rao-Wilton-Glisson basis functions. The two-ray model consists of a line-of-sight ray and a reflected ray that is modeled as a lossless ground reflection. Comparison with a UAV data collection shows that the developed physical layer model improves over a simpler model that was only dependent on distance. The resulting two-ray model provides a more accurate networking model framework for future wireless network simulations.

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