A Light Weight Approach to Online Detection and Classification of Interference in 802.15.4-Based Sensor Networks
With a rapidly increasing number of devices sharing access to the 2.4 GHz ISM band, interference becomes a serious problem for 802.15.4-based, low-power sensor networks. Consequently, interference mitigation strategies are becoming commonplace. In this paper, we consider the step that precedes interference mitigation: interference detection. We have performed extensive measurements to characterize how different types of interferers affect individual 802.15.4 packets. From these measurements, we define a set of features which we use to train a neural network to classify the source of interference of a corrupted packet. Our approach is sufficiently light-weight for online use in a resource-constrained sensor network. It does not require additional hardware, nor does it use active spectrum sensing or probing packets. Instead, all information about interferers is gathered from inspecting corrupted packets that are received during the sensor network’s regular operation. Even without considering a history of earlier packets, our approach reaches a mean classification accuracy of 79.8%, with per interfereraccuracies of 64.9% for WiFi, 82.6% for Bluetooth, 72.1% for microwave ovens, and 99.6% for packets that are corrupted due to insufficient signal strength.