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Tools for Wireless Security Research

This division introduces common tools for wireless security research, including both hardware and software.

Software-Defined Radio Technology

Software-defined radio (SDR) is sometimes also called software radio.

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This is a typical SDR processing flow chart. To understand the wireless software module, it is necessary to study the hardware associated with it. As shown in the figure, the receive path consists of an antenna, RF front end, ADC, and code. ADC is a bridge connecting the continuous, natural analog world with the discrete digital world.

ADC has two major characteristics: the sampling rate and dynamic range. The sampling rate is the speed of ADC to measure the analog signal, and the dynamic range is the precision of the minimum and maximum signal values of the ADC block. The latter determines the number of bits of ADC digital output. Overall, the physical properties of an ADC can determine its sampling rate and dynamic range, and in turn its price.

RF front end is regarded as a frequency conversion black box that processes the center frequency of signals and converts between high frequency and low frequency. The output center frequency is generally referred to as intermediate frequency (IF). A receiver of zero intermediate frequency is called zero-intermediate frequency receiver, which is becoming more common with the advancement of RF chip and ADC chip technologies. If band-pass sampling is used, the RF front end can be skipped.

The last module “Code” consists of software code. In the general concept of software-defined radio, software code refers to various programmable code running on CPU, DSP, or FPGA platforms.

SDR Hardware Tools

SDR Software Tool—GNU Radio

GNU Radio is an open-source software toolkit that provides various signal processing modules to implement an SDR system. It can be connected to some low-cost RF hardware to build a complete system with wireless transmission and reception functions. It also allows you to run some simulated programs without RF hardware. GNU Radio is widely used in scientific research, business applications, and amateur activities.