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Radio Network Sniffer and Baseband Signal Analysis Tool

Description:

TECHNOLOGY AREA(S): Electronics, 

OBJECTIVE: OBJECTIVE: Design and develop a tool that provides Radio Frequency (RF) digital channel emulation, captures I/Q samples in real-time, processes and analyzes these baseband signals across all radios in the network to evaluate radio network performance. The tool will enable evaluation of performance metrics such as network connectivity, bandwidth efficiency, reaction time to changes, performance in intermittent conditions, scalability, susceptibility to interception and detection, etc. This capability will allow advance evaluation of GOTS and COTS waveforms necessary to understand their suitability in ever challenging tactical use cases spanning from increased capacity for data transport, to real-time control of unmanned objects and vehicles, and ability to operate in congested and contested environments, which is not currently possible through spectrum analyzers. 

DESCRIPTION: DESCRIPTION: Evaluating large ad hoc network solutions in tactically relevant scenarios poses unique challenges that are not adequately addressed in the current state of the art wireless network evaluation. This is particularly true in the context of integrated, network-centric communications in a congested and contested radio frequency (RF) environment. The current state of the art channel emulators provide ability for the radios to communicate in realistic environment, which allows the system evaluators to measure the application layer performance in different channel conditions. This performance measurement ability is essential but it does not provide the necessary insight into the RF characteristics of the radios in different network scenarios. This level of advance baseband analysis capability across radio networks is not available through spectrum analyzers. Additionally, Army does not have a tool to compare different radio network solutions as far as RF level signaling is concerned. This lack of visibility could hide vulnerabilities of a radio system. For example, two radio solutions that have similar network performance may have drastically different RF footprint, which makes one solution more susceptible to RF interception and detection. The ability to capture and analyze RF data from a network of connected radios will help in understanding such behaviors. A comprehensive analysis of a radio system requires analysis across all communication layers. The information available through network management entities is useful but rarely provide deep insight into the radio behavior. The ability to capture and analyze data across application, network and RF layers is necessary to provide a comprehensive assessment of radio performance. A tool that can measure RF behavior as well as network behavior will help the Army to better understand and evaluate various radio technologies. It will help detect any system vulnerability in early stages of adoption, and ultimately reduce the cost of developing new technologies relevant to the Army. To fill this gap Army is soliciting the development of a radio network evaluation technology that provides visibility into the behavior of the radio network. The evaluation tool must provide Radio Frequency (RF) digital channel emulation, capturing of I/Q samples in real-time, and processing and analysis of baseband signals across all radios in the network to evaluate radio network performance. This tool should provide recording and playback of several minutes of Network and RF environment for advanced radio systems where the corresponding packets and RF emissions are tagged with the identity of the emitter. The recording must support at least 16 SISO radios as well as 4 4x4 MIMO radios. This tool must support channel bandwidth of at least 250 MHz. The tool must provide standard interface to external tools such as MATLAB and other like tools. This interface could be leveraged to consume more advanced channel effects generated by these external tools and for analysis and reporting. The network analysis tool must include MATLAB scripts for analysis and reporting. 

PHASE I: Conduct a design study of the Radio Network Sniffer and Baseband Signal Analysis Tool. The design must cover Radio Frequency (RF) digital channel emulation, real-time capturing of I/Q samples, processing, analysis, and playback of baseband signals across all radios in the network. Design analysis must address accuracy, speed, and scalability of the approach. Demonstrate proof of concept technology for two radios. 

PHASE II: Finalize the design of the Radio Network Sniffer and Baseband Signal Analysis Tool. Build and deliver evaluation tool that can support recording of Network and RF interactions between at least 16 SISO radios and 4 4x4 MIMO radios. This tool must support channel bandwidth of at least 250 MHz. The evaluation tool should include matlab interface and scripts to read and analyze the data. The ability to record RF channel with tagged meta-data should be demonstrated using tactical radios connected through an RF link emulator where the channel is drawn from the terrain data of a geographical area that will be defined by the Army. The evaluation tool should be able to emulate the RF recording at any point on the identified map. The tool should be delivered to Army for further testing and evaluation. Potential military and commercial applications will be identified and targeted for Phase III and commercialization. 

PHASE III: PEO C3T / PM Tactical Radio / PM Tactical Networks will have high interest in the Radio Network Sniffer and Baseband Signal Analysis Tool as they will be looking to evaluate commercial radios and waveform technologies for Army’s Integrated Tactical Network (ITN). The development of this tool will enable fast and effective way to evaluate and characterize new radio technologies. The tool will also benefit a wide variety of communications and sensor networks and vendors for both military and civilian applications. 

REFERENCES: 

1: ns-3: A discrete-event network simulator for Internet systems: https://www.nsnam.org/

KEYWORDS: Channel Emulation, RF Matrix, I/Q Signal Processing, Channel Effects, Spectrum Analyzer, MANET, RF Footprint, Radio Network Evaluation, MIMO Radios, Waveforms 

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