Clearing the RF Smog: Making 802.11n Robust to Cross-Technology Interference

Clearing the RF smog: making 802.11n robust to cross-technology interference

Shyamnath Gollakota, Fadel Adib, Dina Katabi, and Srinivasan Seshan. 2011. Clearing the RF smog: making 802.11n robust to cross-technology interference. In Proceedings of the ACM SIGCOMM 2011 conference (SIGCOMM ’11). ACM, New York, NY, USA, 170-181.

Abstract

Recent studies show that high-power cross-technology interference is becoming a major problem in today’s 802.11 networks. Devices like baby monitors and cordless phones can cause a wireless LAN to lose connectivity. The existing approach for dealing with such high-power interferers makes the 802.11 network switch to a different channel; yet the ISM band is becoming increasingly crowded with diverse technologies, and hence many 802.11 access points may not find an interference-free channel.

This paper presents TIMO, a MIMO design that enables 802.11n to communicate in the presence of high-power cross-technology interference. Unlike existing MIMO designs, however, which require all concurrent transmissions to belong to the same technology, TIMO can exploit MIMO capabilities to decode in the presence of a signal from a different technology, hence enabling diverse technologies to share the same frequency band. We implement a prototype of TIMO in GNURadio-USRP2 and show that it enables 802.11n to communicate in the presence of interference from baby monitors, cordless phones, and microwave ovens, transforming scenarios with a complete loss of connectivity to operational networks.