Radio Frequency Fingerprint Identification for Narrowband Systems, Modelling and Classification

Junqing Zhang*, Roger Woods, Magnus Sandell, Mikko Valkama, Alan Marshall, Joseph Cavallaro

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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Device authentication is essential for securing Inter-net of things. Radio frequency fingerprint identification (RFFI) is an emerging technique which exploits intrinsic and unique hardware impairments as the device identifier. The existing RFFI literature focuses on experimental exploration but comprehensive modelling is missing. This paper systematically models impairments of transmitter and receiver in narrowband systems and carries out extensive experiments and simulations to evaluate their effects on RFFI. The modelled impairments include oscillator imperfections, imbalance of inphase (I) and quadrature (Q) branches of mixers and power amplifier (PA) nonlinearity. We then propose a convolutional neural network-based RFFI protocol. We carry out experimental measurements over three months and demonstrate that oscillator imperfections are not suitable for RFFI due to their unpredictable time variation caused by temperature change. Our simulation results show that our protocol can classify 50 and 200 devices with uniformly and randomly distributed IQ imbalances and PA nonlinearities with high accuracy, namely 99% and 89%, respectively. We also show that the RFFI has some tolerance on different receiver imbalances during training and classification. Specifically, the accuracy is shown to degrade less than 20% when the residual receiver’s gain and phase imbalances are small. Based on the experimental and simulation results, we made recommendations for designing a robust RFFI protocol, namely compensate carrier frequency offset and calibrate IQ imbalances of receivers.
Original languageEnglish
Article number16
Pages (from-to)3974-3987
Number of pages13
JournalIEEE Transactions on Information Forensics and Security
Publication statusPublished - 10 Jun 2021


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