WEBee: Physical-Layer Cross-Technology Communication via Emulation

Project Introduction

Recent advances in Cross-Technology Communication (CTC) have improved efficient coexistence and cooperation among heterogeneous wireless devices (e.g., WiFi, ZigBee, and Bluetooth) operating in the same ISM band. However, until now the effectiveness of existing CTCs, which rely on packet-level modulation, is limited due to their low throughput (e.g., tens of bps). Our work, named WEBee, opens a promising direction for high-throughput CTC via physical-level emulation. WEBee uses a high-speed wireless radio (e.g., WiFi OFDM) to emulate the desired signals of a low-speed radio (e.g., ZigBee). Our unique emulation technique manipulates only the payload of WiFi packets, requiring neither hardware nor firmware changes in commodity technologies – a feature allowing zero-cost fast deployment on existing WiFi infrastructure. We designed and implemented WEBee with commodity devices (Atheros AR2425 WiFi card and MicaZ CC2420) and the USRP-N210 platform (for PHY layer evaluation). Our comprehensive evaluation reveals that WEBee can achieve a more than 99% reliable parallel CTC between WiFi and ZigBee with 126 Kbps in noisy environments, a throughput about 16,000x faster than current state-of-the-art CTCs.