Surviving Wi-Fi Interference in Low Power ZigBee Networks

Mike Chieh-Jan Liang, Bodhi Priyantha, Jie Liu, Andreas Terzis

SenSys (ACM Conference on Embedded Network Sensor Systems) |

Published by Association for Computing Machinery, Inc.

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Frequency overlap across wireless networks with different radio technologies can cause severe interference and reduce communication reliability. The circumstances are particularly unfavorable for ZigBee networks that share the 2.4 GHz ISM band withWiFi senders capable of 10 to 100 times higher transmission power. Our work first examines the interference patterns between ZigBee and WiFi networks at the bit-level granularity. Under certain conditions, ZigBee activities can trigger a nearby WiFi transmitter to back off, in which case the header is often the only part of the ZigBee packet being corrupted. We call this the symmetric interference regions, in comparison to the asymmetric regions where the ZigBee signal is too weak to be detected by WiFi senders, but WiFi activity can uniformly corrupt any bit in a ZigBee packet. With these observations, we design BuzzBuzz to mitigate WiFi interference through header and payload redundancy. Multi-Headers provides header redundancy giving ZigBee nodes multiple opportunities to detect incoming packets. Then, TinyRS, a full-featured Reed Solomon library for resource-constrained devices, helps decoding polluted packet payload. On a medium-sized testbed, BuzzBuzz improves the ZigBee network delivery rate by 70%. Furthermore, BuzzBuzz reduces ZigBee retransmissions by a factor of three, which increases the WiFi throughput by 10%.