PicoScenes Research

PicoScenes Now Supports CSI Measurement for 802.11ax-Format Frames via Intel AX200 Wi-Fi NIC [Update @ Sep. 17, 2021]

Recently, we put great efforts into upgrading the PicoScenes Driver from Linux v5.4 to v5.10. The key motivation of this upgrade is to integrate the CSI extraction feature for Intel 802.11ac/ax NIC models.

With a very efficient weekend, we are now capable of extracting CSI data from the NICs. Although the detailed format parsing is expected to be done in the following week, some preliminary test results are exciting! The following are some of the results that we have confirmed!

  • Support for NonHT, HT, VHT (single user), HE (single user) traffic
  • Support 20/40/80/160-MHz bandwidths for HT, VHT and HE traffic
  • Support CSI measurement for the overheard traffic
  • Support the filtering for frame type, MAC address, etc.

The code integration is at the very early stage, but we optimistically hope to release the full support of the 802.11ac/ax CSI extraction feature before October 2021.

Latest research update

[Sep. 17, 2021] Refactoring the whole FrontEnd layer of PicoScenes Platform for better accommodation of the Intel AX200 NIC.

[Sep. 14, 2021] Adding direct controls for carrier frequency, bandwidth, etc.

[Sep. 9, 2021] PicoScenes Platform now provides very initial support for the AC9260 and AX200 NICs.

[Sep. 2, 2021] AC-9260 and AX200 have different header structures of CSI data, which add additional workload to understand and parse the header structure.

[Aug. 28, 2021] Intel 11ac/ax 160-MHz ready models (at least AC-9260 model) run their baseband at a 320-MHz, and the CSI data structure contains the raw clock tick count, which has a 3.125ns time resolution or equivalently 0.9375m distance resolution. Plus 16-bit ADC resolution, mm-level sensing is approachable on the Intel 11ac/ax NICs!

[Aug. 28, 2021] Intel 11ac/ax 160-MHz ready models (at least AC-9260 model) can work in monitor mode and is able to measure CSI for the overheard frames (Beacon Frame, Data Frame, etc) with different frame formats (Non-HT, HT, VHT and HE).

[Aug. 27, 2021] Intel 11ac/ax 160-MHz ready models (at least AC-9260 model) has a 16-bit ADC resolution. The coding format of the core CSI data portion is now understood. The CSI header portion needs further investigation.