Demonstration Abstract: A Low-cost Sensor Platform for Large-scale Wideband Spectrum Monitoring
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Today’s radio frequency (RF) spectrum measurements are mainly performed by governmental agencies which drive around using bulky and expensive specialized hardware. This approach does not scale well, providing us with only a poor situational awareness of the actual RF spectrum usage around us. We have developed a wideband spectrum monitoring sensor for remote operation that builds upon portable and low-cost commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) hardware components with a total cost per sensor device below $100. This results in a stunning cost reduction factor of 50 to 500 comparing to professional equipment. Our sensor platform adopts the software-defined radio paradigm and performs all signal processing steps on the CPU and GPU of a low-cost single-board computer. We address the challenges of large frequency errors and long scanning times due to the hardware constraints by proposing new correction and optimization methods, providing a satisfactory level of accuracy in indoor and outdoor environments. Our remote sensing platform is envisioned to be used at larger scale for various applications such as dynamic spectrum access in cognitive radios, detecting regions with elevated electro-smog, or for policy enforcement in the electromagnetic space.