BigBand: GHz-Wide Sensing and Decoding on Commodity Radios

Unknown author (2013-05-22)

The goal of this paper is to make sensing and decoding GHz of spectrum simple, cheap, and low power. Our thesis is simple: if we can build a technology that captures GHz of spectrum using commodity Wi-Fi radios, it will have the right cost and power budget to enable a variety of new applications such as GHz-widedynamic access and concurrent decoding of diverse technologies. This vision will change today s situation where only expensive power-hungry spectrum analyzers can capture GHz-wide spectrum. Towards this goal, the paper harnesses the sparse Fourier transform to compute the frequency representation of a sparse signal without sampling it at full bandwidth. The paper makes the following contributions. First, it presents BigBand, a receiver that can sense and decode a sparse spectrum wider than its own digital bandwidth. Second, it builds a prototype of its design using 3 USRPs that each samples the spectrum at 50 MHz, producing a device that captures 0.9 GHz -- i.e., 6x larger bandwidth than the three USRPs combined. Finally, it extends its algorithm to enable spectrum sensing in scenarios where the spectrum is not sparse.