NetScatter: Enabling Large-Scale Backscatter Networks


Mehrdad Hessar, Ali Najafi, and Shyamnath Gollakota, University of Washington


We present the first wireless protocol that scales to hundreds of concurrent transmissions from backscatter devices. Our key innovation is a distributed coding mechanism that works below the noise floor, operates on backscatter devices and can decode all the concurrent transmissions at the receiver using a single FFT operation. Our design addresses practical issues such as timing and frequency synchronization as well as the near-far problem. We deploy our design using a testbed of backscatter hardware and show that our protocol scales to concurrent transmissions from 256 devices using a bandwidth of only 500 kHz. Our results show throughput and latency improvements of 14–62x and 15–67x over existing approaches and 1–2 orders of magnitude higher transmission concurrency.

NSDI '19 Open Access Sponsored by NetApp

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@inproceedings {226002,
author = {Mehrdad Hessar and Ali Najafi and Shyamnath Gollakota},
title = {{NetScatter}: Enabling {Large-Scale} Backscatter Networks},
booktitle = {16th USENIX Symposium on Networked Systems Design and Implementation (NSDI 19)},
year = {2019},
isbn = {978-1-931971-49-2},
address = {Boston, MA},
pages = {271--284},
url = {},
publisher = {USENIX Association},
month = feb

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