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Radio Frequency Fingerprinting (RFF) is often proposed as an authentication mechanism for wireless device security, but application of existing techniques in multi-channel scenarios is limited because prior models were created and evaluated using bursts from a single frequency channel without considering the effects of multi-channel operation. Our research evaluated the multi-channel performance of four single-channel models with increasing complexity, to include a simple discriminant analysis model and three neural networks. Performance characterization using the multi-class Matthews Correlation Coefficient (MCC) revealed that using frequency channels other than those used to train the models can lead to a deterioration in performance from MCC > 0.9 (excellent) down to MCC < 0.05 (random guess), indicating that single-channel models may not maintain performance across all channels used by the transmitter in realistic operation. We proposed a training data selection technique to create multi-channel models which outperform single-channel models, improving the cross-channel average MCC from 0.657 to 0.957 and achieving frequency channel-agnostic performance. When evaluated in the presence of noise, multi-channel discriminant analysis models showed reduced performance, but multi-channel neural networks maintained or surpassed single-channel neural network model performance, indicating additional robustness of multi-channel neural networks in the presence of noise.


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This work appears in volume 22 of Sensors. Special issue title: Radio Frequency Machine Learning (RFML) Applications.

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