DOI: 10.1049/rsn2.12506 ISSN: 1751-8784

Comparing reference‐free WiFi radar sensing approaches for monitoring people and drones

Marco Di Seglio, Francesca Filippini, Carlo Bongioanni, Fabiola Colone
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


The use of WiFi signals for sensing purposes has attracted a lot of interest from both the radar and communications communities and several techniques have been explored. In the attempt of meeting the requirements for small sensor size, compactness, and easy deployment, the authors consider reference‐free approaches, namely approaches that do not require a good copy of the transmitted waveform to be available at the radar receiver. To this end, the authors first resort to a passive radar‐based processing scheme that only exploits the invariant a priori known initial portion of the physical layer protocol data unit, that is, the PHY Preamble, and its limitations in practical applications is investigated. Specifically, the authors show that, with this approach, an accurate time, phase, and frequency synchronization is essential and a possible strategy is investigated. As an alternative solution the authors consider a forward scatter radar‐based approach where only the amplitude modulation of the received signal is exploited to detect the presence of a moving target thus avoiding the need to know the transmitted signal. For the first time, the authors comparatively investigate advantages and drawbacks of the two reference‐free approaches and present practical strategies to handle the limitations observed. The results are reported for experimental tests with people and drones using WiFi transmissions in the 2.4 and 5 GHz band.

More from our Archive