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Programmable Radio Environments for Smart Spaces

Author(s): Welkie, A; Shangguan, L; Gummeson, J; Hu, W; Jamieson, Kyle A.

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Abstract: Smart spaces, such as smart homes and smart offices, are common Internet of Things (IoT) scenarios for building automation with networked sensors. In this paper, we suggest a different notion of smart spaces, where the radio environment is programmable to achieve desirable link quality within the space. We envision deploying low-cost devices embedded in the walls of a building to passively reflect or actively transmit radio signals. This is a significant departure from typical approaches to optimizing endpoint radios and individual links to improve performance. In contrast to previous work combating or leveraging per-link multipath fading, we actively reconfigure the multipath propagation. We sketch design and implementation directions for such a programmable radio environment, highlighting the computational and operational challenges our architecture faces. Preliminary experiments demonstrate the efficacy of using passive elements to change the wireless channel, shifting frequency “nulls” by nineWi-Fi subcarriers, changing the 2×2 MIMO channel condition number by 1.5 dB, and attenuating or enhancing signal strength by up to 26 dB.
Citation: Welkie, A, Shangguan, L, Gummeson, J, Hu, W, and Jamieson, KA. (2017). Programmable Radio Environments for Smart Spaces. HotNets-XVI, 10.1145/3152434.3152456
DOI: doi:10.1145/3152434.3152456
Type of Material: Conference Article
Journal/Proceeding Title: HotNets-XVI: The 16th ACM Workshop on Hot Topics in Networks
Version: Author's manuscript

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