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Talk: Empowering Tomorrow's Connectivity: Innovations in Next-Generation Wireless Networks

Ali Abedi: Postdoctoral Scholar, UC Berkeley and Stanford University

Event Details

Thursday, April 11, 2024
12-1 p.m.


Abstract: The demand for wireless connectivity continues to increase due to emerging applications such as Industry 4.0, augmented reality, smart farming, and autonomous vehicles. Unfortunately, today’s wireless systems are not adequately prepared to satisfy the diverse networking requirements of these applications. As a result, my research has focused on building next-generation wireless systems to bridge this gap. As an example of such systems, in this talk, I will present WiTAG, a battery-free Wi-Fi-compatible wireless networking system that enables batteryless sensors to transmit their data to nearby Wi-Fi devices such as smartphones. What distinguishes WiTAG from prior art is that it requires no hardware or software modifications to existing Wi-Fi infrastructure and therefore integrates seamlessly with existing systems.

The second aspect of my research focuses on non-cooperative sensing, in which any device with wireless capability can be turned into a sensor without cooperation from that device. I discovered a loophole in the Wi-Fi protocol called “polite Wi-Fi” that is the main driver behind non-cooperative sensing, which has both positive and negative implications. As an example of a negative implication, in this talk, I will present Wi-Peep, a location-revealing attack that allows a drone to fly over a building and determine the location of all devices with Wi-Fi capability inside that building. This attack has major privacy and security consequences because it can track people inside a building from outside and reveal other sensitive information.

Bio: Ali Abedi is a postdoctoral scholar at UC Berkeley and Stanford University advised by professors Anant Sahai and Sachin Katti. He received his PhD from the University of Waterloo under the supervision of Professor Tim Brecht. His research focuses on computer systems and networking, particularly in the development of the next generation of wireless systems. His work has been published in renowned systems and networking venues such as SIGCOMM, MobiCom, and HotNets. He was awarded the gold medal in the Student Research Competition (SRC) competition at Mobicom 2018. His research projects have been featured in ACM GetMobile, ACM Tech News, Gizmodo, and Yahoo Finance. He has received multiple grants from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC). His research has resulted in multiple patents, and has attracted interests from companies such as Google, Qualcomm, and ecobee.