New Method for Directional Modulation Using Beamforming: Applications to Simultaneous Wireless Information and Power Transfer and Increased Secrecy Capacity

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Virginia Tech


The proliferation of connected embedded devices has driven wireless communications into commercial, military, industrial, and personal systems. It is unreasonable to expect privacy and security to be inherent in these networks given the spatial density of these devices, limited spectral resources, and the broadcast nature of wireless communications systems. Communications for these systems must have sufficient information capacity and secrecy capacity while typically maintaining small size, light weight, and minimized power consumption. With increasing crowding of the electromagnetic spectrum, interference must be leveraged as an available resource.

This work develops a new beamforming method for direction-dependent modulation that provides wireless communications devices with enhanced physical layer security and the ability to simultaneously communicate and harvest energy by exploiting co-channel interference. We propose a method that optimizes a set of time-varying array steering vectors to enable direction-dependent modulation, thus exploiting a new degree of freedom in the space-time-frequency paradigm. We formulate steering vector selection as a convex optimization problem for rapid computation given arbitrarily positioned array antenna elements.

We show that this method allows us to spectrally separate co-channel interference from an information-bearing signal in the analog domain, enabling the energy from the interference to be diverted for harvesting during the digitization and decoding of the information-bearing signal. We also show that this method provides wireless communications devices with not only enhanced information capacity, but also enhanced secrecy capacity in a broadcast channel. By using the proposed method, we can increase the overall channel capacity in a broadcast system beyond the current state-of-the-art for wireless broadcast channels, which is based on static coding techniques. Further, we also increase the overall secrecy capacity of the system by enabling secrecy for each user in the system. In practical terms, this results in higher-rate, confidential messages delivered to multiple devices in a broadcast channel for a given power constraint. Finally, we corroborate these claims with simulation and experimental results for the proposed method.



Directional Modulation, Physical Layer Security, Beamforming, Array, Broadcast Channel, Secrecy