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Design Proposal for DFS Pattern Detector


We at Neratec started working on DFS when we realized that radar detection is of no or minor relevance for mac80211 / ath9k development. After inspecting the latest ETSI requirements for radar datection (V1.5.1, see ETSI specs) we assumed that reliable detection of the patterns defined there will be difficult to achieve wrt the higher probability of false positives with the updated specs.

Assuming the core problem to be the right balance between true and false pattern detection, we implemented a test framework capable to perform statistical analyses of pattern detection algorithms based on SW generated test patterns. With this test system we are able to compare the detection reliability of different approaches and to fine-tune the detection parameters to statistically match a given tradeoff between true and false detections.

In the next step we integrated a pattern detector into mac80211 and interfaced it to ath9k to verify that the detection works with physical HW.

This page gives a short overview of how we initially planned to integrate DFS functionality and how we would have designed it. Now that DFS will be implemented by joint efforts, we propose our chosen design approach for discussion. Patches for a working proof-of-concept are posted at the mailing-list.

Goals / Assumptions

Our approach aims to provide a HW independent pattern matching entity located in the mac80211.

We assume that there are three types of HW devices:

  1. chipsets that are not capable of detecting radar pulses
  2. chipsets tha can detect single radar pulses
  3. chipsets that detect radar patterns fully in HW The proposed detector module is designed to support type 2 HW. In this approach the HW is responsible to reliably detect a radar pulse and forward it to the detector. The detector evaluates the pulses and in case of pattern detection reports it to mac80211 to trigger further processing.


Incorporating DFS pattern detection with the given approach requires following interfaces

  1. HW → mac80211: reporting radar pulses
  2. mac80211 → pattern detector: feeding radar events
  3. pattern detector → mac80211: notify about detected radar

Note that we are discussing only the bare detection here, excluding all those actions that must follow a detection event.

Pattern Detector Interface

Pattern detection as specified by ETSI (TBC: and FCC?) works solely based on a given set of input parameters, namely

 * struct pulse_event - events fed to the dfs handler
 * @ts: absolute time stamp for start of pulse in [us] (e.g. from TSF)
 * @freq: channel frequency in [MHz]
 * @rssi: rssi value for the given pulse
 * @width: pulse width in [us]
struct pulse_event {
        u64 ts;
        u16 freq;
        u8  rssi;
        u8  width;

Interface to mac80211

The mac80211 must provide at least two methods to support pattern detection functionality:

extern void ieee80211_add_radar_pulse(u16 freq, u64 ts, u8 rssi, u8 width);
extern void ieee80211_radar_detected(u16 freq);

The first one is to be used by PHY to continuously report detected pulse events. Those events are then fed into the pattern detector.

When the pattern detector detects a match, mac80211 is informed about it with the second function. Here is the central place to perform all actions required after radar is detected at a given frequency.


should also be used by chipsets which do the detection in HW to trigger execution of post radar detection actions.

DFS Handler Interface

Pattern detectors are implemented as part of DFS handler instances with the following interface

struct dfs_handler {
        /* VFT */
        void (*exit)(struct dfs_handler *_this);
        int (*add_pulse)(struct dfs_handler *_this, struct pulse_event *event);

        /* private data */
        struct dfs_data *data;

 * dfs_handler_init - DFS handler constructor
 * @dfs_domain: DFS domain to detect radar patterns for
 * A DFS handler instance is allocated via this constructor.
 * On failure NULL is returned.
struct dfs_handler *dfs_handler_init(enum dfs_domain dfs_domain);

A DFS handler is instantiated with the DFS regulatory domain as parameter. It is then fed by


with radar events and will detect radar test patterns as defined for this domain. On detection, ieee80211 is informed via



Proof-of-Concept Implementation

The patches to test this concept of common pattern detectors integrated in mac80211 are posted on the mailing list.

In this sections some information is provided on how to run and test it.

We tested it with

  • OpenWRT (r23885)
  • ath9k / AR9280 (rev 2)
  • Rohde & Schwarz SMBV100A Vector Signal Generator (R&S)
  • cabled environment


At boot up, the pattern specs are printed, you should see

INIT: print_detector_specs: valid ranges: width=[0, 30], pri=[240, 5010], dur=112950
INIT: dfs_handler_init: ok

Testing with Radar Pulse Generator

After boot up, setup to operate on DFS channel:

uci set wireless.radio0.disabled=0; \
uci set wireless.radio0.hwmode=11a; \
uci set; \
uci set; \
wifi up

At the R&S, load ETSI V1.5.1 reference DFS radar test signal and fire it via single trigger (5500 MHz, -30 dBm). The events fed to the detector and the result are logged, you should see

INFO: e->width=0, e->ts=7875473, delta_ts=1427, e->rssi=30, e->freq=5500
INFO: e->width=0, e->ts=7876902, delta_ts=1429, e->rssi=30, e->freq=5500
INFO: e->width=0, e->ts=7878333, delta_ts=1431, e->rssi=44, e->freq=5500
INFO: e->width=0, e->ts=7879759, delta_ts=1426, e->rssi=30, e->freq=5500
INFO: e->width=0, e->ts=7881189, delta_ts=1430, e->rssi=43, e->freq=5500
INFO: e->width=0, e->ts=7882616, delta_ts=1427, e->rssi=30, e->freq=5500
INIT: detector_check_match: XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX MATCH on type 1
Radar detected at freq=5500



gives access to logging verbosity and to a radar pattern generator to test the detector without HW.


holds the bit-field of enabled levels ⇒ write 0 to disable output fully.

DFS radar pattern generator is

  • configured by parameters
    radar_{freq, ppb, pss, rssi, width} 
  • executed by writing 1 to

Upon invocation, the radar events configured are passed to mac80211 and forwarded to the detector. With default values you should see

INFO: e->width=1, e->ts=1286281794469507, delta_ts=1428, e->rssi=30, e->freq=5500
INFO: e->width=1, e->ts=1286281794470935, delta_ts=1428, e->rssi=30, e->freq=5500
INFO: e->width=1, e->ts=1286281794472363, delta_ts=1428, e->rssi=30, e->freq=5500
INFO: e->width=1, e->ts=1286281794473791, delta_ts=1428, e->rssi=30, e->freq=5500
INFO: e->width=1, e->ts=1286281794475219, delta_ts=1428, e->rssi=30, e->freq=5500
INFO: e->width=1, e->ts=1286281794476647, delta_ts=1428, e->rssi=30, e->freq=5500
INIT: detector_check_match: XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX MATCH on type 1
Radar detected at freq=5500
en/developers/dfs/detectordesignnt.txt · Last modified: 2015/01/26 09:49 (external edit)