RadioHound: A Low-Cost Spectrum Sensor System

Tech ID: 19-046

Inventors: Bertrand Hochwald, Nikolaus Kleber, Arash Ebadi Shahrivar, Jerry Laneman, Aaron Striegel, Abbas Termos, David Connelly, Jonathan Chisum, Gonzalo Martinez, Scott Null

Date Added: June 9, 2021


A portable, low-cost, cloud-based RF sensor network that measures and displays real-time spectrum usage and is capable of detecting a large range of radio frequencies (50 MHz - 6 GHz)

Technology Summary

As wireless communication systems continuously grow and increase in complexity, such devices compete for use of limited spectrum space in the radio frequency (RF) range. Systems operating nearby at similar frequencies can cause interference, creating a need for an efficient way to detect unused frequencies. Current methods for mapping radio frequency spectrum usage requires expensive and non-portable equipment or has a small range of detectable frequencies (450-1000 MHz). RF mapping would benefit from the development of cost-effective, portable sensors capable of detecting a larger range of radio frequencies for all RF applications.

Researchers at the University of Notre Dame have recently developed a portable, low-cost, dynamic, geospatial RF spectrum monitoring system for a large range of radio frequencies. RadioHound is a cloud-based IoT spectrum sensing system comprised of heterogeneous sensor nodes, measurement controller and visualization user interface, extensible algorithms, and an archival database. Its capabilities include understanding of: wideband spectrum usage and efficiency measuring/mapping in real time, spectrum sharing possibilities and algorithm testing, and spectral efficiency and utilization across large geographic areas. RadioHound is a better alternative than current RF sensors because it enables RF spectrum mapping in real time, providing a reliable indicator of spectrum utilization.  Due to its portability and low cost, widespread deployment can give good understanding of electromagnetic situational awareness and patterns of life, especially in crowded or dense environments. The system supports an unlimited number of sensors of almost any type ranging in complexity from instrument grade real-time spectrum analyzers to commercial software-defined radios. Other types, including direction-of-arrival sensors, are also supported. RadioHound has potential applications as an open channel monitor, RF usage database, or DoD spectrum monitor.

Market Advantages

  • Minimizes sensor cost, power, and size
  • Capable of detecting a large range of radio frequencies (50 MHz - 6 GHz)
  • Optimize bandwidth allocation in real-time

Market Applications

  • Department of Defense situational awareness and airfield monitoring – $25.4M/year
  • Citizens Broadband Radio Service + Statistical Analysis System – $434M/year
  • FCC/USPS Broadband Mapping

Technology Readiness Level

TRL 4 - Lab Validation


RadioHound: A Pervasive Sensing Network for Sub-6 GHz Dynamic Spectrum Monitoring. 2017 IEEE International Symposium on Dynamic Spectrum Access Networks (DySPAN), Baltimore, MD, USA, 2017, pp. 1-2, doi: 10.1109/DySPAN.2017.7920764.