4. Features & License#

Revised on Dec. 4, 2023

PicoScenes is a feature-rich, powerful, and user-friendly middleware for Wi-Fi ISAC research. This page outlines the notable features of PicoScenes and provides links to their usage and explanations.

To ensure the sustainable development of the PicoScenes platform, we have implemented a licensing mechanism for these features. The majority of features are available free of charge, while a license fee is required for certain advanced features, only for SDR frontends.

In the sections below, we cover three main topics:

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4.1. Features of The PicoScenes Platform#

We categorize the distinctive features of the PicoScenes platform into three tables: Platform Features, Hardware Features, and Data & API Access. In these tables, we also list the availability of each feature for free users (in the Free columns) and Pro users (in the Pro columns). A detailed comparison between the Free and Pro licenses can be found in Introducing PicoScenes Licensing Plan and Pricing & Payment.

4.1.1. Platform Features#

Feature

Description

Free

Pro

Rich Hardware Support

PicoScenes supports COTS NICs (AX210/AX200, QCA9300, and IWL5300) and SDR Devices (NI USRP Series and Hack RF One). See Supported Hardware.

Hardware Interoperability

Frame transmission and CSI measurement among heterogeneous hardware. See Interoperability among SDR and COTS NICs.

Easy Installation

Out-of-box experience. Easy installation on Ubuntu 20.04 (22.04 soon) in less than 10 mins. No kernel or driver compilations. Debian apt based upgrading. See PicoScenes Installation & Upgrade.

PicoScenes MATLAB Toolbox

Parsing the .csi files in MATLAB via Drag’n’Drop. See PicoScenes MATLAB Toolbox Core.

Plugins Development

Allowing users to implement their own ISAC measurement protocols, like round-trip CSI measurements or spectrum scanning. See Developing Your PicoScenes Plugins

Best in class Documentation

https://ps.zpj.io

Public Technical Support

Public and searchable assistance at wifisensing/picoscenes-issue-tracker

Very Timely and Personal Technical Support on IM

Very timely assistance on WeChat or other IM Apps, only for Pro users,

4.1.2. Hardware Features#

We categorize the technical features based on the underlying hardware: Support for SDR: NI USRP Hardware and HackRF One, COTS NIC: AX210 and AX200, COTS NIC: QCA9300 and IWL5300.

4.1.3. Support for SDR: NI USRP Hardware and HackRF One#

One of the major highlights of the PicoScenes platform is its built-in high-performance software baseband implementation of the 802.11 PHY, which supports the 802.11a/g/n/ac/ax/be protocols, 4096-QAM, up to 320 MHz CBW, and LDPC codecs. Developed in C++, it leverages the multi-threading, BLAS library, and AVX2 instruction set for accelerated processing.

Feature

Description

Free

Pro

SDR Hardware Support

Supporting all models of NI USRP SDR devices and the HackRF One. See ISAC Research using NI USRP or HackRF One SDR

Transmit 11a/g/n/ac/ax/be-Format Frames with 20/40/80/160/320 MHz CBW

SDR-based Packet Injection supporting up to 320 MHz CBW and Wi-Fi 7 format. See Transmitting 40/80/160/320 MHz bandwidth 802.11a/g/n/ac/ax/be Format Frames

(Up to 2x2 MIMO)

Receiving and Measuring CSI for 20/40/80/160/320 MHz CBW Frames

Fully Passive Sensing with Wi-Fi 7 format and up to 320 MHz CBW. See Listening to 40/80/160/320 MHz Bandwidth Channels

(Up to 2x2 MIMO)

Rx Multi-Thread Decoding

Scaling-up Rx decoding performance. See Multi-Thread Rx Decoding (Experimental)

Tx/Rx Gain Control

Manual Tx/Rx gain control, and Rx AGC. See Tx Gain Control and Rx Gain Control: Manual GC and AGC

Tx Chain Specification

Multi-(RF) Channel and MIMO Transmission up to 4x4. See Multi-Channel (RF Chain) and MIMO Tx with NI USRP Devices

(Up to 2 channels)

Rx Chain Specification

Multi-(RF) Channel Reception up to 4x4 MIMO. See Multi-Channel Rx by Single NI USRP Device and Multi-Channel Rx by Multiple NI USRP Devices

Up to 2 channels)

Antenna Selection

Tx/Rx antenna specification. See Antenna Selection (Only for NI USRP Device)

Operating in Non-Standard Channel (Carrier Frequency)

Operating at any hardware-supported frequency range, e.g., in [1 - 7.200] MHz range by the NI USRP X410. See Transmission, Reception, and CSI Measurement with Non-Standard Channel and Bandwidth.

Operating with Non-Standard Bandwidth (Sampling Rate)

Operating with any hardware-supported sampling rate. e.g.. up to 400 MHz sampling rate by the NI USRP X410. See Transmission, Reception, and CSI Measurement with Non-Standard Channel and Bandwidth.

Record and Replay Tx/Rx Baseband Signals

Record Tx and Rx baseband signals, and replay them during offline analysis. See Signal Recording and Replaying (Both Tx and Rx Ends)

(Only Rx Record and Replay)

Tx/Rx Resampling

Realizing arbitrary bandwidth Tx/Rx on USPRs with fixed master clock rate, e.g., achieving 320 MHz CBW with 400 MHz fix-rate NI USRP X410. See Non-Standard Tx/Rx with NI USRP N2x0/X3x0/N3x0 Series.

Support External Clock Source

Realizing Multi-USRP clock/phase synchronization. e.g., MIMO Tx/Rx and phased array. See Clock Synchronization across Multiple USRP Devices

Multi-USRP Combination

Combining multiple USRP devices into a virtual and larger USRP with more synchronized channels, e.g., achieving up to 8x8 MIMO using four NI USRP X310. See Multi-Channel Rx by Single NI USRP Device, Multi-Channel Rx by Multiple NI USRP Devices, and Multi-Channel (RF Chain) and MIMO Tx with NI USRP Devices

(Up to 2 devices)

Multi-Channel Splitting and Stitching

Combining two half-rate sampling channels into a full-rate channel, e.g., achieving up to 400 MHz bandwidth with a single NI USRP X310 (200 MHz rate max.). See Dual-Channel Spectrum Splitting and Stitching (Experimental)

Multiple CSI Measurement per Frame

Supporting up to 39 CSI measurements from a single frame. See Multiple CSI Measurements per Frame.

Channel Impairment Simulation

Simulating CFO, SFO, I/Q Imbalance and their combinations at Tx or Rx end. See Channel Impairment Simulation

Wi-Fi Radar Mode

The self-Tx-self-Rx radar model is highly suitable for Wi-Fi sensing research. See Wi-Fi Radar (802.11bf Mono-Static Sensing Mode) with 802.11a/g/n/ac/ax/be Frame Format

Interoperability

Interoperability with COTS NICs, AX210/AX200, QCA9300, IWL5300 and all other Wi-Fi NICs. See Interoperability among SDR and COTS NICs

4.1.4. COTS NIC: AX210 and AX200#

PicoScenes is the exclusive platform that supports the packet injection (Tx), receiving, and CSI measurement on Intel AX210/AX200 NIC. All features below are free of charge.

Feature

Description

Free

Pro

6 GHz Band Access (AX210 Only)

Accessing the full 6 GHz band channels (5955 to 7115 MHz) around the globe. See CSI Measurement using AX210/AX200 NICs and Wi-Fi Channelization.

CSI Measurement with Associated AP

Measuring CSI from the associated AP. See CSI Measurement from Associated Wi-Fi AP

CSI Measurement in Monitor Mode (Passive Sensing)

Supporting measuring CSI for all overheard frames (11a/g/n/ac/ax format) in monitor mode with up to 160 MHz CBW. See Fully-Passive CSI Measurement in Monitor Mode

Transmit 11a/g/n/ac/ax-Format Frames with 20/40/80/160 MHz CBW

Supporting Packet Injection with 11a/g/n/ac/ax format and up to 160 MHz CBW. See Packet Injection-Based CSI Measurement (Tx with 802.11a/g/n/ac/ax Format and 20/40/80/160 MHz CBW) and Packet Injection with MCS Setting and Antenna Selection

Runtime Specifying Channel and Bandwidth

Specifying channel, CBW, Tx/Rx chainmasks in runtime by commands or APIs. See Specifying Channel and Bandwidth in Real-time.

4.1.5. COTS NIC: QCA9300 and IWL5300#

PicoScenes supports the legendary QCA9300 and IWL5300 NICs and exclusively unlocks several low-level controls for QCA9300. See The academic paper of PicoScenes for more details. All features below are free of charge.

Feature

Description

Free

Pro

CSI Measurement by “Monitor mode + Packet Injection”

Packet Injection in 11a/g/n/ac/ax format with 20/40 MHz Channel bandwidth (CBW) with Extra Spatial Sounding (ESS). See Packet Injection based CSI Measurement

Accessing Non-Standard Channel and Bandwidth by QCA9300

QCA9300 supports operating in [2.2-2.9, 4.4-6.1] GHz spectrum and [2.5-80] MHz bandwidth. See QCA9300 Operating with Non-Standard Channel, Bandwidth, and Manual Rx Gain

Manual Rx Gain Control by QCA9300

Disabling AGC and specifying a fixed [0-60] dBm Rx Gain. See QCA9300 Operating with Non-Standard Channel, Bandwidth, and Manual Rx Gain

Tx/Rx chain specification

Specify Tx and Rx chainmasks in runtime, see Specifying Tx and Rx Chains

4.1.6. Data & API Access#

Feature

Description

Free

Pro

Complete baseband signal

SDR Only. Return the per-packet complete multi-channel baseband signals. See Data structures of the Raw Parsing

Multi-CSI-per-Frame

SDR Only. Return multiple CSI measurements (if available). See Multiple CSI Measurements per Frame.

4.2. Introducing PicoScenes Licensing Plan#

PicoScenes Licensing Plan (PSLP) has two tiers: Free License and Pro License. Their differences are:

  • Free License (PSLP-FL): PSLP-FL is free of charge but comes with limited access to advanced features.

  • Pro License (PSLP-PRO): PSLP-PRO users pay a license fee and gain full access to all PicoScenes features along with timely technical support. It has two subtypes:
    • Transferable License (PSLP-PRO-TL): It allows users to activate and use the license on a single computer. Users can conveniently transfer the license between computers as needed, providing flexibility for multi-device usage scenarios.

    • Device-Bound License (PSLP-PRO-DBL): This option ties a untransferable Pro license to a newly-bought NI USRP device. Compared to PSLP-PRO-TL, PSLP-PRO-DBL users can enjoy immediate and full access to the licensed features without explicit activation and online validation. This model is suitable for researches on newly-bought NI USRP hardware, offering faster program start, and long-term offline operation. This option is exclusively available in mainland China, as discussed in 与NI中国合作赠送 PSLP-PRO-DBL许可证 (Gifting PSLP-PRO-DBL Licenses in Collaboration with NI China).

Comparisons of PSLP Options#

PSLP Option

Pros

Cons

PSLP-FL

  • Nice documentation on usage at ps.zpj.io

  • Installation and upgrade via Debian apt facility

  • Support running self-made PicoScenes plugin

  • Public technical support via Issue Tracker

  • Limited/No advanced features

  • Online validation (frequent)

PSLP-PRO-TL

  • Online validation (less frequent)

PSLP-PRO-DBL (Coming Soon)

  • All Pro features in Features of The PicoScenes Platform

  • Timely technical support on IM

  • Discounted bundle pricing

  • Out-of-box experience

  • Faster program start

  • Long-term offline operating

  • Device bound, not transferable

  • Available only in China mainland

Note

PSLP-PUL v0.8.1 is converted to PSLP-PRO-TL in v1.0 automatically.

4.2.1. 与NI中国合作赠送 PSLP-PRO-DBL许可证 (Gifting PSLP-PRO-DBL Licenses in Collaboration with NI China)#

PicoScenes平台非常荣幸地得到 NI (美国国家仪器)公司(中国)的认可与支持,NI公司认为“PicoScenes平台填补了NI公司在Wi-Fi ISAC领域的不足”。

为支持更多用户基于PicoScenes平台及NI USRP系列产品进行Wi-Fi/5G/6G ISAC领域的研究与应用,NI公司(中国)与PicoScenes平台达成合作:对每台从PicoScenes合作公司售出的USRP系列SDR设备(独立机器或“母板+子板”套件),免费赠送一份PSLP-PRO-DBL许可证。作为回报,NI公司(中国)将资助PicoScenes平台、提供多型号USRP设备供PicoScenes平台研发及测试,并提供技术支持。感谢NI公司对PicoScenes平台的认可支持❤️❤️❤️!

The PicoScenes platform is honored to receive recognition and support from National Instruments (NI). NI acknowledges that “the PicoScenes platform has addressed the gaps in NI’s offering in the Wi-Fi ISAC domain.

To support more users in the Wi-Fi/5G/6G ISAC field for research and applications using the PicoScenes platform and NI USRP series products, NI (China) has entered into a collaboration with the PicoScenes team: a PSLP-PRO-DBL license will be provided free of charge for each USRP Series SDR device sold by PicoScenes’ partner store (independent machine or “motherboard + daughterboard” kit). In return, NI (China) will fund the PicoScenes platform, provide USRP devices for PicoScenes platform development and testing, and offer technical support. We sincerely appreciate NI’s recognition and support for the PicoScenes platform ❤️❤️❤️!

4.3. Pricing & Payment#

  • PSLP-PRO-TL:

    • For Chinese users(中国区用户): 一次性付费8688元人民币得到2个永久PSLP-PRO-TL许可证。我们捆绑2个许可证一起销售,是因为常用的”(Tx) Packet Injection + (Rx) CSI Measurement in Monitor Mode”模式需要两台机器配合使用。请在我们的合作店铺购买: PicoScenes软件Pro可转移许可证(PSLP-PRO-TL)

    • For English-speaking users outside mainland China: One-time payment of 1500 USD for 2 PSLP-PRO-TL licenses. We bundle 2 PSLP-PRO-TL licenses together for sale because the commonly used ISAC scenario ‘(Tx) Packet Injection + (Rx) CSI Measurement in Monitor Mode’ requires two independent machines. Compared to 8688 RMB (roughly 1200 USD) for Chinese users, the additional $300 USD is for currency exchange processing fee and technical support in English. Payment channel still establishing …..

  • PSLP-PRO-DBL: 我们在这个页面单独说明USRP采购及相关问题: Selling NI USRP Devices (与NI合作销售USRP系列产品)