Software Defined Radio

What is „Software Defined Radio“?

„Software Defined Radio“ (SDR) is a new approach for mobile communication networks. The general idea behind SDR is to create a single flexible, high-performance and completely programmable hardware platform to replace a large number of specialised analogue and digital hardware components that have to be custom-built for each particular application. Based on FPGAs, DSPs, and “general-purpose processors” (GPPs), this platform enables faster and more flexible implementation of complex signal processing. SDR supports multiple wireless standards in a flexible and energy-efficient manner and is therefore a key technology for green IT.

Another advantage: SDR-based systems are completely reconfigurable, thereby reducing not only the development time but also costs, eliminating the need to invest in new hardware for each specific application.

The SAFARI project

The SAFARI project is a collaborative project that sees the IAF working together with mimoOn and the Fraunhofer Institute for Telecommunications at the Heinrich Hertz Institute in Berlin. Our goal in this project is to develop a high-performance digital signal processors (DSP) platform for Software Defined Radio. Thanks to SDR, a single unit of hardware can handle many different wireless interfaces, simply by installing the appropriate software. Our task is the development and manufacture of high-performance, energy saving and extremely compact hardware modules for SDR.

The theme of SDR is becoming increasingly interesting for more broadband systems because there are now DSPs that can offer the necessary performance. It is now possible to realize the decoding of the physical layer entirely in software.

Why is SDR so important?

There are already implementations that operate wholly or partially with programmable Field Programmable Gate Array (FPGA) chips. However, these use a relatively low level of abstraction and are machine-oriented, requiring significantly more time than required for a software implementation.

We at the IAF see enormous potential in SDR, as it enables modular systems to be built up and networked with outstanding flexibility.

Key advantage: Our new AMC modules for the MicroTCA standard are ideal for building extensible modular SDR systems. 

A look at our latest development:
We are pleased to announce that we will soon be launching a new product that will also be of interest to SDR applications: the Dual 6670 AMC. More information coming soon!

Good to know: We are a member of the PICMG organization, which developed the MicroTCA standard.