Crowdsourcing Access Network Spectrum Allocation Using Smartphones (Complete)
As wireless devices continue to proliferate and bandwidth demands continue to grow, it is more important than ever for wireless infrastructures to adaptively allocate limited spectrum to respond to changing demands. Accurate channel assessment requires measurements at both ends of each wireless link, but collecting measurements directly from active clients degrades performance, since measuring and using a link cannot occur simultaneously. To address this challenge, we are developing PocketSniffer, which utilizes passive smartphones to enable wide-area wireless infrastructure monitoring, debugging and reconfiguration.
PocketSniffer utilizes the rapidly-growing number of smartphones to perform passive observation of both their own wireless performance and that of other nearby clientsAs shown in the figure above, PocketSniffer utilizes the rapidly-growing number of smartphones to perform passive observation of both their own wireless performance and that of other nearby clients, providing representative client-side visibility that improves on both measurements made by infrastructure alone or by unrepresentative site surveys. By performing measurements only at inactive clients, PocketSniffer does not interfere with active use---but by performing measurements at nearby inactive clients, PocketSniffer can estimate the wireless conditions experienced by active clients. By centralizing network monitoring into a single app, PocketSniffer provides a way to efficiently provide network monitoring data to multiple consumers, including both large infrastructure network providers and single home access points.
Realizing PocketSniffer requires addressing several core challenges in this area, including:
determining whether measurements from one device are representative of another nearby device;
choosing when and which measurements to collect from battery-constrained clients;
deciding how to utilize available measurements to improve overall performance, particularly for multiple clients; and
incentivizing cooperation between overlapping networks to achieve the best global performance for all clients.
We refer to our approach that uses repeated measurements from multiple devices to jointly allocate spectrum among multiple access points as crowdsourcing access network spectrum allocation using smartphones, or CANSAS. We are utilizing the PhoneLab smartphone platform testbed combined with co-located programmable wireless access points to explore the potential for PocketSniffer to improve wireless performance.