Raspberry Pi Zero W Wifi TX/RX SDR Hack

Talk about other SDR products like the FunCube, HackRF, BladeRF etc.
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Joined: Wed Dec 11, 2019 7:02 pm

Raspberry Pi Zero W Wifi TX/RX SDR Hack

Post by chash360 » Wed Dec 11, 2019 7:39 pm

New to the board, and have searched extensively to no avail...

I am looking to make use of Raspberry Pi Zero W's WiFi capabilities in both TX and RX for testing experimental wireless protocols. Ideally I would like control over frequency, bandwidth, modulation, and RF power, but what is primarily required is the ability to TX/RX non-IP Packets (Custom packets with completely different formats). This is of course going to be done inside a Faraday cage to prevent unlawful interference.

The sparrow-WiFi-SDR seems related, but as with most of these discussions there often is little to no information given about transmit capabilities. I am not focused on detecting or decoding other signals/formats at this time, but being able to detect an avoid other active channels will be of use later, out of the cage (pending FCC approvals). The focus is on testing / measuring / proving performance of the protocols, so full RF control is not initially required. Not having to buy a separate dongle/device is also a desired goal.

Primary Questions:
1. Does the Sparrow (or other SDR) have these capabilities?
2. Do I even need a full SDR, or am I just looking for a raw WiFi chip driver hack?
3. Is there such a driver hack that anyone knows of?

Posts: 103
Joined: Wed Apr 25, 2018 8:14 am

Re: Raspberry Pi Zero W Wifi TX/RX SDR Hack

Post by aurgathor » Mon Dec 16, 2019 7:08 am

I'm not too familiar with the innards of Wi-Fi chips, but when I tried to look up the datasheets on a few Wi-Fi chips, I couldn't find anything beyond facts and very basic spec sheets.

But even you manage to obtain a data sheet with enough information for a driver hack, that may not be enough depending on how much and what is implemented in hardware/microcode, and how much is in software and in firmware.

If you're really adamant about your project, an Adalm-Pluto or a LimeSDR Mini should be sufficient for a TX/RX device, and if you do the initial development at 1/2 frequency (or below), you could also use cheap RTL-SDRs as receivers.

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