Coherent Detection and Channel Coding for Bistatic Scatter Radio Sensor Networking

With rapid advances of scatter radio systems, the principle of reflection rather than active transmission employed by backscatter sensor networks, has emerged as a potential key enabler for low-cost, large-scale and dense ubiquitous sensor networks. Despite the presence of three different unknown channel links due to the bistatic setup (i.e., carrier emitter and receiver are dislocated), as well as multiple unknown scatter radio-related parameters, this work offers a novel coherent receiver of frequency-shift keying (FSK) modulation for the bistatic scatter radio channel. Furthermore, with the objective of range maximization, specific short block-length cyclic channel codes are utilized.

The proposed approach requires minimum encoding complexity, ideal for resource-constrained, ultra-low power (e.g. microcontroller unit-based), low-bit rate scatter radio tags, adheres to simple low-complexity decoding at the receiver and achieves high-order signal diversity. Analysis is followed by experimental validation with a commodity software-defined radio (SDR) reader and a custom scatter radio tag; tag-to-reader ranges up to 150 meters are demonstrated with as little as 20 milliWatt transmission power, increasing sensing ranges by approximately 10 additional meters, compared to state-of-the-art bistatic scatter radio receivers. With the imminent emergence of backscatter sensor networks, this work serves as a small step forward towards the realization of low-cost, low-power, increased-range, wireless sensing applications.