LongBee: Enabling Long-Range Cross-Technology Communication

Zhijun Li Institute of Technology Harbin, P.R. China
Tian He University of Minnesota, USA


Cross-Technology Communication (CTC) supports direct message exchange among heterogeneous wireless technologies (e.g., Wi-Fi, ZigBee, and BlueTooth) under the same ISM band, enabling explicit cross-technology control and coordination. For instance, a Wi-Fi AP can directly control ZigBee-enabled smart light bulbs without an expensive dual-radio gateway. Such CTC capability can be further amplified if we can extend the communication range of CTC to support long-range wide-area IoT applications such as environmental monitoring, smart metering, and precision agriculture. Our work, named LongBee, is the first to extend the range of Cross-Technology Communication. At the transmitter side, LongBee concentrates the effective TX power through down-clocked operations, and at the receiver side, LongBee improves the RX sensitivity with an innovative transition coding to ensure reliable preamble detection and payload reception. All these are achieved without modifying hardware and without introducing extra Wi-Fi RF energy cost. We implemented the LongBee on the USRP platform and commodity ZigBee devices. Our comprehensive evaluation reveals that LongBee with concentrated TX power and higher RX sensitivity achieves reliably over 10x range extension over native ZigBee communication and 2x range extension than the longest distance achieved by existing CTC schemes so far.

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