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RIS-Assisted Space-Air-Ground Integrated Networks: New Horizons for Flexible Access and Connectivity
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  • Lina Bariah ,
  • Lina Mohjazi ,
  • Hanaa Abumarshoud ,
  • Bassant Selim ,
  • Sami Muhaidat ,
  • Mallik Tatipamula ,
  • Muhammad Ali Imran ,
  • Harald Haas
Lina Bariah
Khalifa University

Corresponding Author:[email protected]

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Lina Mohjazi
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Hanaa Abumarshoud
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Bassant Selim
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Sami Muhaidat
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Mallik Tatipamula
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Muhammad Ali Imran
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Harald Haas
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Space-air-ground integrated network (SAGIN) has emerged as a paradigm shifting architecture that offers large-scale, flexible wireless coverage and seamless, high-rate connectivity to complement terrestrial communications. Nonetheless, unlocking the potentials of SAGIN is subject to addressing non-trivial challenges associated with their inherent time-variability, self-organization, and heterogeneity. Meanwhile, the concept of reconfigurable intelligent surfaces (RISs) is recognized as a disruptive technology that supports an unprecedented control of electromagnetic waves propagation and potentially offers significant enhancements in spectral efficiency, coverage expansion, and security, all achieved in a low-cost and energy-efficient manner. We anticipate that the integration of RISs into SAGIN will not only play a fundamental role in improving the quality of inter- and intra- layer communications, but will also provide complex interactions among the three network segments, and hence, opens the horizons for a new breed of applications across all industries. In this article, we explore the underlying opportunities and challenges of integrating RIS-enabled communications into SAGIN, and present a forward-looking overview of the cross-layer operational elements supported by RISs. Finally, we outline major enabling technologies and present a look ahead toward addressing open research issues.
May 2023Published in IEEE Network volume 37 issue 3 on pages 118-125. 10.1109/MNET.123.2100761