Downlink Coverage and Rate Analysis of Low Earth Orbit Satellite Constellations Using Stochastic Geometry

Niloofar Okati, Taneli Riihonen, Dani Korpi, Ilari Angervuori, Risto Wichman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

90 Citations (Scopus)


As low Earth orbit (LEO) satellite communication systems are gaining increasing popularity, new theoretical methodologies are required to investigate such networks’ performance at large. This is because deterministic and location-based models that have previously been applied to analyze satellite systems are typically restricted to support simulations only. In this paper, we derive analytical expressions for the downlink coverage probability and average data rate of generic LEO networks, regardless of the actual satellites’ locality and their service area geometry. Our solution stems from stochastic geometry, which abstracts the generic networks into uniform binomial point processes. Applying the proposed model, we then study the performance of the networks as a function of key constellation design parameters. Finally, to fit the theoretical modeling more precisely to real deterministic constellations, we introduce the effective number of satellites as a parameter to compensate for the practical uneven distribution of satellites on different latitudes. In addition to deriving exact network performance metrics, the study reveals several guidelines for selecting the design parameters for future massive LEO constellations, e.g., the number of frequency channels and altitude.
Original languageEnglish
Article number9079921
Pages (from-to)5120-5134
Number of pages15
JournalIEEE Transactions on Communications
Issue number8
Early online date2020
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2020
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • Low Earth orbit (LEO) constellations
  • massive communication satellite networks
  • coverage probability
  • average achievable rate
  • SINR
  • stochastic geometry
  • point processes


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