Software Defined Radio

Introduction on Software Defined Radios

According to the SDRforum, the term software defined radios (SDRs) is used to describe radios that provide software control of a variety of modulation techniques, wide-band or narrow-band operation, communications security functions (such as hopping), and waveform requirements of current and evolving standards over a broad frequency range. Clearly, the level of control is bounded by the operation range of the RF front-end, but enables the design and operation of SDRs with a high level of flexibility. This flexibility of operation of SDRs allows for the re-use of hardware architectures and platforms. This property is the main benefit of SDRs.

Applications and business scenarios

The SDR concept allows for the deployment of simple hardware platforms built using SDRs to enable operators to modify both the network and the devices of their customers to perform different functions at different times. This allows:

End-users to realize "true" choices with "pay as you go" features, device independence & a single piece of scalable hardware that is at once compatible at a global scale
Network operators to differentiate their service offerings without having to support a myriad number of handhelds and to move to adjacent markets as well as offer new, tiered services to increase their revenue mix
Infrastructure suppliers to lower cost & insure themselves against price-erosions through concentrated efforts on a common hardware platform and reduced component counts
Applications Developers to enhance value without concern to hardware types
Terminal providers to add features, patches and capabilities to devices for broader market participation.


SDR-expertise at IMST

IMST is one of the leading institutes covering all aspects of current and future wireless systems. Our expertise enables the design and implementation of highly flexible RF front- ends, which stretch the application range of SDR. Furthermore, IMST and partners(CSEM, CSELT and Kurtosis) have developed a software architecture for SDRs within a European project named SLATS. The architecture consists of several software libraries containig flexible signal processing modules, e.g. Rake receiver, and a supervisor in charge of module configuration, module operation scheduling and inter-module signal transport. Its correctness has been proven with a demonstrator based on a DSP-platform, which has been successfully demonstrated at the project final audit.

Impulse Radio

"The bright future for software defined radio"

Currently, RF front-ends bound the application range of SDRs. For illustrative purposes, assume the scenario where a handheld should support communication over X different frequency bands, the handheld requires X front-ends. Leading to a handheld with excessive physical dimensions and power consumption, making it to an commercially unattractive device. Currently, a new communication technology appears at the horizon, called impulse radio (IR), which allows for a front-end with a high level of flexibility and scalability. The combination of SDR and IR could fulfill the promise of a true SDR and hereby has the potential to change the world of wireless communication drastically. IMST is strategically involved in the development of IR system architectures and economic scenarios within the European project

Related Links

The ACTS project FIRST - Flexible Integrated Radio Systems Technology
The ACTS project MEDIAN - Wireless Broadband CPN/LAN for Professional and Residential Multimedia Applications
The ACTS project FRAMES - Flexible Integrated Radio Systems Technology
The ACTS project SORT - Software Radio Technology
The SDR forum - Software Defined Radio Forum
The Object Management Group (OMG)
The Community Research and Development Information Service (CORDIS)
The CAST project - Configurable radio with Advanced Software Technology
The MOBIVAS project - Downloadable mobile value added services through software radio & switching integrated plaforms
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Contact: Norbert Schmidt.
Stand:28. Februar 2002