Sniffing and Decoding NRF24L01+ and Bluetooth LE Packets with the RTL-SDR

Omri Iluz wrote in to us to let us know about his recent project which involves sniffing and decoding wireless packets at 2.4 GHz from NRF24L01+ and Bluetooth Low Energy (BTLE) transceivers. The NRF24L01+ is a popular wireless transceiver which is used in many common devices such as keyboards, mice, remote controls, toys and appliances.

Since 2.4 GHz is out of any of the RTL-SDR’s receivable range, Omri used a cheap downconverter which he was able to buy from China using Aliexpress. The downconverter converts the 2.4 GHz signal into a lower frequency at around 400 MHz which is in the receivable range of the RTL-SDR.

He was then able to use his NRF24-BTLE-Decoder software that he developed to convert the received data from the NRF24L01+ transceiver into a decoded packet by simply piping the output of RTL_FM into his program.

Since the NRF24L01+ uses hardware similar to the Bluetooth Low Energy (BTLE) protocol, Omri was able to modify his code to be able to also decode BTLE packets.

2.4GHz NRF24 packet received on the RTL-SDR from a Logitech mouse using a downconverter
2.4GHz packet received on the RTL-SDR + downconverter from a Logitech mouse
Decoded NRF24 Packets

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