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Multi-modulation Scheme for RFID-Based Sensor Networks

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Part of the Lecture Notes of the Institute for Computer Sciences, Social Informatics and Telecommunications Engineering book series (LNICST,volume 352)


RFID technology is playing an increasingly more important role in the Internet of Things, especially in the dense deployment model. In such networks, in addition to communication, nodes may also need to harvest energy from the environment to operate. In particular, we assume that our network model relies on RFID sensor network consisting of Wireless Identification and Sensing Platform (WISP) devices and RFID exciters. In WISP, the sensors harvest ambient energy from the RFID exciters and use this energy for communication back to the exciter. However, as the number of exciters is typically small, sensors further away from an exciter will need longer charging time to be able to transmit the same amount of information than a closer by sensor. Thus, further away sensors limit the overall throughput of the network. In this paper, we propose to use a multi-modulation scheme, which trades off power for transmission duration. More specifically, in this scheme, sensors closer to the exciter use a higher-order modulation, which requires more power than a lower-order modulation assigned to further away sensors, for the same bit error rate of all the sensors’ transmissions. This reduces the transmission time of the closer sensors, while also reducing the charging time of the further away sensors, overall increasing the total network throughput. The evaluation results show that the RFID sensor network with our multi-modulation scheme has significantly higher throughput as compared with the traditional single-modulation scheme.


  • RFID systems
  • IoT
  • WISP
  • Energy harvesting
  • Multi-modulation scheme
  • Throughput optimization
  • Sensor network

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  • DOI: 10.1007/978-3-030-67720-6_2
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  1. 1.

    RSNs and especially the WISP technology is extensively discussed in [1,2,3,4].

  2. 2.

    Imagine that the hardware of a dense IoT device requires changing a battery once in 4 years. In a deployment of 100,000 devices, this means that there is a need to replace 2,500 batteries every year or ~70 batteries every day!

  3. 3.

    The terms “reader” and “exciter” are interchangeably used in technical literature.

  4. 4.

    We do not use the OOK modulation scheme, since with this modulation we cannot apply different number of bits per symbol, \( k \) [17].

  5. 5.

    The function of BER vs \( \frac{{E_{b} }}{{N_{0} }} \) for the QAM and the PAM schemes are evaluated using the Matlab BER tool.

  6. 6.

    For M-PSK scheme, BPSK and QPSK have the same \( \frac{{E_{b} }}{{N_{0} }} \) at \( BER = 10^{ - 6} , \) so we cannot use BPSK, together with QPSK. For M-QAM scheme, 2-QAM cannot be found in the Matlab BER tool, so we use 4-QAM as the lowest order modulation.

  7. 7.

    Based on Eq. (10), since the \( \frac{{E_{b} }}{{N_{0} }} \) obtained from the Maltab BER tool for the QAM and the PAM schemes are different from PSK, the region partitions for QAM and PAM schemes are different from that of the PSK scheme. As a result, the number of nodes for different regions are changed as well. In addition, since we apply 2-PAM, 4-PAM, and 8-PAM in the PAM scheme, the transmission time for sensor nodes is changed to: 0.08 s, 0.04 s, and 0.0268 s, respectively


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Correspondence to Zijing Tian .

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Tian, Z., Haas, Z.J. (2021). Multi-modulation Scheme for RFID-Based Sensor Networks. In: Gao, H., Fan, P., Wun, J., Xiaoping, X., Yu, J., Wang, Y. (eds) Communications and Networking. ChinaCom 2020. Lecture Notes of the Institute for Computer Sciences, Social Informatics and Telecommunications Engineering, vol 352. Springer, Cham.

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