In December 2017, the Third Generation Partnership Project (3GPP) released the first set of specifications for 5G New Radio (NR), which is currently the most widely accepted 5G cellular standard. 5G NR is expected to replace LTE and previous generations of cellular technology over the next several years, providing higher throughput, lower latency, and a host of new features. Similar to LTE, the 5G NR physical layer consists of several physical channels and signals, most of which are vital to the operation of the network. Unfortunately, like for any wireless technology, disruption through radio jamming is possible. This paper investigates the extent to which 5G NR is vulnerable to jamming and spoofing, by analyzing the physical downlink and uplink control channels and signals. We identify the weakest links in the 5G NR frame, and propose mitigation strategies that should be taken into account during implementation of 5G NR chipsets and base stations.
Abstract-In this paper, we investigate the performance gains of adapting pilot spacing and power for Carrier Aggregation (CA)-OFDM systems in nonstationary wireless channels. In current multi-band CA-OFDM wireless networks, all component carriers use the same pilot density, which is designed for poor channel environments. This leads to unnecessary pilot overhead in good channel conditions and performance degradation in the worst channel conditions. We propose adaptation of pilot spacing and power using a codebook-based approach, where the transmitter and receiver exchange information about the fading characteristics of the channel over a short period of time, which are stored as entries in a channel profile codebook. We present a heuristic algorithm that maximizes the achievable rate by finding the optimal pilot spacing and power, from a set of candidate pilot configurations. We also analyze the computational complexity of our proposed algorithm and the feedback overhead. We describe methods to minimize the computation and feedback requirements for our algorithm in multi-band CA scenarios and present simulation results in typical terrestrial and air-toground/air-to-air nonstationary channels. Our results show that significant performance gains can be achieved when adopting adaptive pilot spacing and power allocation in nonstationary channels. We also discuss important practical considerations and provide guidelines to implement adaptive pilot spacing in CA-OFDM systems.
This paper provides a methodology to study the PHY layer vulnerability of wireless protocols in hostile radio environments. Our approach is based on testing the vulnerabilities of a system by analyzing the individual subsystems. By targeting an individual subsystem or a combination of subsystems at a time, we can infer the weakest part and revise it to improve the overall system performance. We apply our methodology to 4G LTE downlink by considering each control channel as a subsystem.We also develop open-source software enabling research and education using software-defined radios. We present experimental results with open-source LTE systems and shows how the different subsystems behave under targeted interference. The analysis for the LTE downlink shows that the synchronization signals (PSS/SSS) are very resilient to interference, whereas the downlink pilots or Cell-Specific Reference signals (CRS) are the most susceptible to a synchronized protocol-aware interferer. We also analyze the severity of control channel attacks for different LTE configurations. Our methodology and tools allow rapid evaluation of the PHY layer reliability in harsh signaling environments, which is an asset to improve current standards and develop new and robust wireless protocols.
Mission-critical wireless networks are being upgraded to 4G long-term evolution (LTE). As opposed to capacity, these networks require very high reliability and security as well as easy deployment and operation in the field. Wireless communication systems have been vulnerable to jamming, spoofing and other radio frequency attacks since the early days of analog systems. Although wireless systems have evolved, important security and reliability concerns still exist. This paper presents our methodology and results for testing 4G LTE operating in harsh signaling environments. We use software-defined radio technology and open-source software to develop a fully configurable protocol-aware interference waveform. We define several test cases that target the entire LTE signal or part of it to evaluate the performance of a missioncritical production LTE system. Our experimental results show that synchronization signal interference in LTE causes significant throughput degradation at low interference power. By dynamically evaluating the performance measurement counters, the knearest neighbor classification method can detect the specific RF signaling attack to aid in effective mitigation.
Modern wireless systems such as the Long-Term Evolution (LTE) and 5G New Radio (5G NR) use pilot-aided SINR estimates to adapt the transmission mode and the modulation and coding scheme (MCS) of data transmissions, maximizing the utility of the wireless channel capacity. However, when interference is localized exclusively on non-pilot resources, pilotaided SINR estimates become inaccurate. We show that this leads to congestion due to retransmissions, and in the worst case, outage due to very high block error rate (BLER). We demonstrate this behavior through numerical as well as experimental results with the 4G LTE downlink, which show high BLER and significant throughput detriment in the presence of non-pilot interference (NPI). To provide useful insights on the impact of NPI on lowlatency communications, we derive an approximate relation between the retransmission-induced latency and BLER. Our results show that NPI can severely compromise low-latency applications such as vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) communications and 5G NR. We identify robust link adaptation schemes as the key to reliable communications.
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