Full Duplex Wireless

Philip Levis, Assistant Professor of Computer Science and Electrical Engineering at Stanford University


Philip Levis

Wireless networking traditionally assumes that radios are half-duplex. On a given frequency, a half-duplex radio can either transmit or receive, but not both at the same time. I present recent results demonstrating that a full-duplex radio — a radio that can receive and transmit simultaneously on the same frequency — can be built using commodity, off-the-shelf components. I discuss some of the possible implications of full duplex, including solving some long-standing problems in wireless, such as the hidden terminal problem, signal boosters, and access point fairness. I examine the design space for full-duplex radios, describing the corresponding tradeoffs. Full duplex has the potential to revolutionize a large number of wireless systems: I’ll conclude with current strengths and limitations of the technology to try to shed some light on where I think it might be most and least successful.

The talk is intended for a CS audience; it does not assume any RF theory background, just a high school level understanding of the physics and mathematics of sine waves.


Philip Levis is an Assistant Professor of Computer Science and Electrical Engineering at Stanford University. He received his Sc.B. from Brown University in 1999, his M.S. from the University of Colorado at Boulder in 2001, and his Ph.D. from UC Berkeley in 2005. In 2008 he received an NSF CAREER award and a Microsoft Research New Faculty Fellowship. He researches the design and implementation of networked systems, including operating systems and protocols for embedded wireless devices, wireless mesh protocols, network infrastructure for virtual worlds, and energy efficient computing. The results of his research, including the TinyOS operating system, nesC language, Trickle algorithm, and the collection tree protocol (CTP), have been adopted by tens of thousands of users and researchers worldwide. He really likes excellent engineering and has a self-destructive aversion to low-hanging fruit.