On the Mechanisms and Effects of Calibrating RSSI Measurements for 802.15.4 Radios

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Executive Summary

Wireless sensor network protocols and applications, including those used for localization, topology control, link scheduling, and link quality estimation, make extensive use of Received Signal Strength Indication (RSSI) measurements. In this paper the authors show that inaccuracies in the RSSI values reported by widely used 802.15.4 radios, such as the CC2420 and the AT86RF230, have profound impact on these protocols and applications. Furthermore, they experimentally derive the response curves which translate actual RSSI values to the raw RSSI readings that the radios report and show that they contain non-linear and even non-injective regions. Fortunately, these curves are consistent across radios of the same model, making RSSI calibration practical.

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