Expanding the Role of Preambles to Support User-defined Functionality in MIMO-based WLANs

Zhengguang Zhang, Hanif Rahbari, Marwan Krunz

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

2 Scopus citations


As the Wi-Fi technology goes through its sixth generation (Wi-Fi 6), there is a growing consensus on the need to support security and coordination functions at the Physical (PHY) layer, beyond traditional functions such as frame detection and rate adaptation. In contrast to the costly approach of extending the PHY-layer header to support new functions (e.g., Target Wake Time field in 802.11ax), we propose to turn a specific part of the frame preamble into a data field while maintaining its primary functions. Specifically, in this paper, we develop a scheme called extensible preamble modulation (ePMod) for the MIMO-based 802.11ac protocol. For each frame, eP-Mod can embed up to 20 bits into the 802.11ac preamble under 1 × 2 or 2 × 1 MIMO transmission modes to support the operations of a given PHY-layer function. The proposed scheme enables several promising PHY-layer services, such as PHY-layer encryption and channel/device authentication, PHYlayer signaling, etc. At the same time, it allows legacy (eP-Modunaware) devices to continue to process the received preamble as normal by guaranteeing that our proposed preamble waveforms satisfy the structural properties of a standardized preamble. Through numerical analysis, extensive simulations, and hardware experiments, we validate the practicality and reliability of ePMod.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationINFOCOM 2020 - IEEE Conference on Computer Communications
PublisherInstitute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Inc.
Number of pages10
ISBN (Electronic)9781728164120
StatePublished - Jul 2020
Event38th IEEE Conference on Computer Communications, INFOCOM 2020 - Toronto, Canada
Duration: Jul 6 2020Jul 9 2020

Publication series

NameProceedings - IEEE INFOCOM
ISSN (Print)0743-166X


Conference38th IEEE Conference on Computer Communications, INFOCOM 2020


  • IEEE 802.11ac
  • MIMO
  • OFDM
  • Preamble embedding
  • USRP experiments

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computer Science(all)
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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