Towards Commoditized Real-time Spectrum Monitoring

Ana Nika
Zengbin Zhang
Xia Zhou
Ben Y. Zhao
Haitao Zheng

Proceedings of ACM Workshop on Hot Topics in Wireless Networks (HotWireless 2014)

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Paper Abstract

We are facing an increasingly difficult challenge in spectrum management: how to perform real-time spectrum monitoring with strong coverage of deployed regions. Today's spectrum measurements are carried out by government employees driving around with specialized hardware that is usually bulky and expensive, making the task of gathering real-time, large-scale spectrum monitoring data extremely difficult and cost prohibitive. In this paper, we propose a solution to the spectrum monitoring problem by leveraging the power of the masses, i.e. millions of wireless users, using low-cost, commoditized spectrum monitoring hardware. We envision an ecosystem where crowdsourced smartphone users perform automated and continuous spectrum measurements using their mobile devices, and report the results to a monitoring agency in real-time. We perform an initial feasibility study to verify the efficacy of our mobile monitoring platform compared to that of conventional monitoring devices like USRP GNU radios. Results indicating that commoditized real-time spectrum monitoring is indeed feasible in the near future. We conclude by presenting a set of open challenges and potential directions for follow-up research.