The “Porcupine” is an experimental high performance device designed to support research into advanced wireless network management. Equipped with sixteen separate radios, sixteen single board computers, and sixteen directional antennas, the Porcupine has the horsepower and flexibility to experiment with new tools and techniques to better manage wireless networks. The Porcupine’s basic platform is open source; Linux running on off-the-shelf single board computers and commodity radios.

The Porcupine is designed to capture wireless packets and determine their origins in real-time. Each of the sixteen radio/antenna/computer units can be configured to operate together, facilitating packet-by-packet bearing analysis, or assigned individually to investigate particular network faults. For example, one of the radio elements might attempt to join a rogue wireless network to determine its source and participants, and then provide this information to network operations or security personnel.

Each of the Porcupine’s sixteen separate units synchronize their activity with a master console. The console then coordinates this activity with additional Porcupines. The Porcupine can operate passively, such as determining the source and nature of the network participants and can also operate as an active client or even a working wireless access point operating on multiple channels and covering a large area with multiple high-gain antennas.

See the Porcupine in action at SC04>>

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Last updated: 27th September 2004
Copyright 2004, The Trustees of
Indiana University