|dc.description.abstract||Jamming is an ongoing threat that plagues wireless communications in contested areas. Unfortunately, jamming complexity and sophistication will continue to increase over time. The traditional approach to addressing the jamming threat is to harden radios, such that they sacrifice communications performance for more advanced jamming protection. To provide an escape from this trend, we investigate the previously unexplored area of jammer exploitation.
This dissertation develops the concept of antifragile communications, defined as the capability for a communications system to improve in performance due to a system stressor or harsh condition. Antifragility refers to systems that increase in capability, resilience, or robustness as a result of disorder (e.g., chaos, uncertainty, stress). An antifragile system is fundamentally different from one that is resilient (i.e., able to recover from failure) and robust (i.e., able to resist failure). We apply the concept of antifragility to wireless communications through several novel strategies that all involve exploiting a communications jammer. These strategies can provide an increase in throughput, efficiency, connectivity, or covertness, as a result of the jamming attack itself. Through analysis and simulation, we show that an antifragile gain is possible under a wide array of electronic warfare scenarios. Throughout this dissertation we provide guidelines for realizing these antifragile waveforms. Other major contributions of this dissertation include the development of a communications jamming taxonomy, feasibility study of reactive jamming in a SATCOM-type scenario, and a reinforcement learning-based reactive jamming mitigation strategy, for times when an antifragile approach is not practical.
Most of the jammer exploitation strategies described in this dissertation fall under the category of jammer piggybacking, meaning the communications system turns the jammer into an unwitting relay. We study this jammer piggybacking approach under a variety of reactive jamming behaviors, with emphasis on the sense-and-transmit type. One piggybacking approach involves transmitting using a specialized FSK waveform, tailored to exploit a jammer that channelizes a block of spectrum and selectively jams active subchannels. To aid in analysis, we introduce a generalized model for reactive jamming, applicable to both repeater-based and sensing-based jamming behaviors.
Despite being limited to electronic warfare scenarios, we hope that this work can pave the way for further research into antifragile communications.||en_US