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Pushing the Physical Limits of IoT Devices with Programmable Metasurfaces

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Document pages: 14 pages

Abstract: Small, low-cost IoT devices are typically equipped with only a single,low-quality antenna, significantly limiting communication range and linkquality. In particular, these antennas are typically linearly polarized andtherefore susceptible to polarization mismatch, which can easily cause 10-15dBm of link loss on communication to and from such devices. In this work, wehighlight this under-appreciated issue and propose the augmentation of IoTdeployment environments with programmable, RF-sensitive surfaces made ofmetamaterials. Our smart meta-surface mitigates polarization mismatch byrotating the polarization of signals that pass through or reflect off thesurface. We integrate our metasurface into an IoT network as LAMA, a Low-powerLattice of Actuated Metasurface Antennas, designed for the pervasively used 2.4GHz ISM band. We optimize LAMA s metasurface design for both low transmissionloss and low cost, to facilitate deployment at scale. We then build anend-to-end system that actuates the metasurface structure to optimize for linkperformance in real time. Our experimental prototype-based evaluationdemonstrates gains in link power of up to 15 dBm, and wireless capacityimprovements of 100 and 180 Kbit s Hz in through-surface and surface-reflectivescenarios, respectively, attributable to the polarization rotation propertiesof LAMA S metasurface.

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