Modulated Backscatter for Low-Power High-Bandwidth Communication
This thesis re-examines the physical layer of a communication link in order to increase the energy efficiency of a remote device or sensor. Backscatter modulation allows a remote device to wirelessly telemeter information without operating a traditional transceiver. Instead, a backscatter device leverages a carrier transmitted by an access point or base station.
A low-power multi-state vector backscatter modulation technique is presented where quadrature amplitude modulation (QAM) signalling is generated without running a traditional transceiver. Backscatter QAM allows for significant power savings compared to traditional wireless communication schemes. For example, a device presented in this thesis that implements 16-QAM backscatter modulation is capable of streaming data at 96 Mbps with a radio communication efficiency of 15.5 pJ/bit. This is over 100x lower energy per bit than WiFi (IEEE 802.11).
This work could lead to a new class of high-bandwidth sensors or implantables with power consumption far lower than traditional radios.
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