Conference paper Open Access

OWL: a Reliable Online Watcher for LTE Control Channel Measurements

Bui, Nicola; Widmer, Joerg

Reliable network measurements are a fundamental component of networking research as they enable network analysis, system debugging, performance evaluation and optimization. In particular, decoding the LTE control channel would give access to the full base station traffic at a 1 ms granularity, thus allowing for traffic profiling and accurate measurements. Although a few open-source implementations of LTE are available, they do not provide tools to reliably decoding the LTE control channel and, thus, accessing the scheduling information. In this paper, we present OWL, an Online Watcher for LTE that is able to decode all the resource blocks in more than 99% of the system frames, significantly outperforming existing non-commercial prior decoders. Compared to previous attempts, OWL grounds the decoding procedure on information obtained from the LTE random access mechanism. This makes it possible to run our software on inexpensive hardware coupled with almost any software defined radio capable of sampling the LTE signal with sufficient accuracy.

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