Increased range bistatic scatter radio

John Kimionis, Aggelos Bletsas, John N. Sahalos

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Scatter radio achieves communication by reflection and requires low-cost and low-power RF front-ends. However, its use in wireless sensor networks (WSNs) is limited, since commercial scatter radio (e.g. RFID) offers short ranges of a few tens of meters. This work redesigns scatter radio systems and maximizes range through non-classic bistatic architectures: the carrier emitter is detached from the reader. It is shown that conventional radio receivers may show a potential 3dB performance loss, since they do not exploit the correct signal model for scatter radio links. Receivers for on-off-keying (OOK) and frequency-shift keying (FSK) that overcome the frequency offset between the carrier emitter and the reader are presented. Additionally, non-coherent designs are also offered. This work emphasizes that sensor tag design should accompany receiver design. Impact of important parameters such as the antenna structural mode are presented through bit error rate (BER) results. Experimental measurements corroborate the long-range ability of bistatic radio; ranges of up to 130 meters with 20 milliwatts of carrier power are experimentally demonstrated, with commodity software radio and no directional antennas. Therefore, bistatic scatter radio may be viewed as a key enabling technology for large-scale, low-cost and low-power WSNs.

Original languageEnglish
Article number6742719
Pages (from-to)1091-1104
Number of pages14
JournalIEEE Transactions on Communications
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2014


  • Bistatic scatter radio
  • modulation schemes
  • software defined radio
  • wireless sensor networks


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