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Nexmon: Build Your Own Wi-Fi Testbeds With Low-Level MAC and PHY-Access Using Firmware Patches on Off-the-Shelf Mobile Devices

Schulz, Matthias and Wegemer, Daniel and Hollick, Matthias (2017):
Nexmon: Build Your Own Wi-Fi Testbeds With Low-Level MAC and PHY-Access Using Firmware Patches on Off-the-Shelf Mobile Devices.
In: Proceedings of the 11th Workshop on Wireless Network Testbeds, Experimental Evaluation & CHaracterization, In: 11th Workshop on Wireless Network Testbeds, Experimental Evaluation & CHaracterization, Snowbird, Utah, USA, October 2017, pp. 59-66, [Online-Edition: https://doi.org/10.1145/3131473.3131476],
[Conference or Workshop Item]

Abstract

The most widespread Wi-Fi enabled devices are smartphones. They are mobile, close to people and available in large quantities, which makes them perfect candidates for real-world wireless testbeds. Unfortunately, most smartphones contain closed-source FullMAC Wi-Fi chips that hinder the modification of lower-layer Wi-Fi mechanisms and the implementation of new algorithms. To enable researchers' access to lower-layer frame processing and advanced physical-layer functionalities on Broadcom Wi-Fi chips, we developed the Nexmon firmware patching framework. It allows users to create firmware modifications for embedded ARM processors using C code and to change the behavior of Broadcom's real-time processor using Assembly. Currently, our framework supports five Broadcom chips available in smartphones and Raspberry Pis. Our example patches enable monitor mode, frame injection, handling of ioctls, ucode compression and flashpatches. In a simple ping offloading example, we demonstrate how handling pings in firmware reduces power consumption by up to 165 mW and is nine times faster than in the kernel on a Nexus 5. Using Nexmon, researchers can unleash the full capabilities of off-the-shelf Wi-Fi devices.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item
Erschienen: 2017
Creators: Schulz, Matthias and Wegemer, Daniel and Hollick, Matthias
Title: Nexmon: Build Your Own Wi-Fi Testbeds With Low-Level MAC and PHY-Access Using Firmware Patches on Off-the-Shelf Mobile Devices
Language: English
Abstract:

The most widespread Wi-Fi enabled devices are smartphones. They are mobile, close to people and available in large quantities, which makes them perfect candidates for real-world wireless testbeds. Unfortunately, most smartphones contain closed-source FullMAC Wi-Fi chips that hinder the modification of lower-layer Wi-Fi mechanisms and the implementation of new algorithms. To enable researchers' access to lower-layer frame processing and advanced physical-layer functionalities on Broadcom Wi-Fi chips, we developed the Nexmon firmware patching framework. It allows users to create firmware modifications for embedded ARM processors using C code and to change the behavior of Broadcom's real-time processor using Assembly. Currently, our framework supports five Broadcom chips available in smartphones and Raspberry Pis. Our example patches enable monitor mode, frame injection, handling of ioctls, ucode compression and flashpatches. In a simple ping offloading example, we demonstrate how handling pings in firmware reduces power consumption by up to 165 mW and is nine times faster than in the kernel on a Nexus 5. Using Nexmon, researchers can unleash the full capabilities of off-the-shelf Wi-Fi devices.

Title of Book: Proceedings of the 11th Workshop on Wireless Network Testbeds, Experimental Evaluation & CHaracterization
Uncontrolled Keywords: Nexmon, broadcom, wi-fi, firmware reverse engineering
Divisions: 20 Department of Computer Science
20 Department of Computer Science > Sichere Mobile Netze
DFG-Collaborative Research Centres (incl. Transregio)
DFG-Collaborative Research Centres (incl. Transregio) > Collaborative Research Centres
Profile Areas
Profile Areas > Cybersecurity (CYSEC)
LOEWE
LOEWE > LOEWE-Schwerpunkte
LOEWE > LOEWE-Schwerpunkte > NiCER – Networked infrastructureless Cooperation for Emergency Response
LOEWE > LOEWE-Zentren
LOEWE > LOEWE-Zentren > CASED – Center for Advanced Security Research Darmstadt
DFG-Collaborative Research Centres (incl. Transregio) > Collaborative Research Centres > CRC 1053: MAKI – Multi-Mechanisms Adaptation for the Future Internet
DFG-Collaborative Research Centres (incl. Transregio) > Collaborative Research Centres > CRC 1053: MAKI – Multi-Mechanisms Adaptation for the Future Internet > A: Construction Methodology
DFG-Collaborative Research Centres (incl. Transregio) > Collaborative Research Centres > CRC 1053: MAKI – Multi-Mechanisms Adaptation for the Future Internet > A: Construction Methodology > Subproject A1: Modelling
DFG-Collaborative Research Centres (incl. Transregio) > Collaborative Research Centres > CRC 1053: MAKI – Multi-Mechanisms Adaptation for the Future Internet > A: Construction Methodology > Subproject A3: Migration
Event Title: 11th Workshop on Wireless Network Testbeds, Experimental Evaluation & CHaracterization
Event Location: Snowbird, Utah, USA
Event Dates: October 2017
Date Deposited: 02 Aug 2017 14:10
Official URL: https://doi.org/10.1145/3131473.3131476
Identification Number: TUD-CS-2017-0207
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