Pre and post COVID-19 impact on the global software-defined radio market – The Courier

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The use of software-defined radios is increasing. As processing power becomes more affordable to implement multiple software, SDR radios are increasingly common in high-end and low-end applications. One of the main advantages of SDR technology is that it can be programmed according to the exact specifications of the user; minor software adjustments can make the radio fully compliant with the requirements. It is also increasingly easier to incorporate SDR with open source applications such as GNU software.

What is a software-defined radio?

An SDR (Software Defined Radio) is a radio that can be configured to operate on a specific frequency. The technology can be used to change the frequency (or firmware) of the radio. Hardware radios are generally equipped for particular frequency bands or applications. Since the radio transceiver and Front End modules are designed to operate at a certain frequency, the frequency of hardware radios cannot be easily adjusted. In software-defined radios, however, this is not the case; these radios can be configured to operate at a particular frequency.

What is the difference between software defined radio and software controlled radio?

Software-controlled radio (SCR) is a form of radio in which some or all of the functions of the physical layer are controlled by software. To put it another way, this form of radio relies solely on software to monitor the various fixed functions of the radio. On the other hand, software defined radio (SDR) is a form of radio in which some or all of the physical layer functions are defined by software. In other words, the program is used to evaluate the specifications and capabilities of the radio. If the radio software is updated, the output and functionality of the radio may be affected.

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SDR has a common hardware architecture on which the software runs to include functions such as modulation and demodulation, filtering (which includes changes in bandwidth) and other functions such as frequency selection and, if necessary, frequency hopping. Radio output is changed by reconfiguring or changing the program. To do this, software modules running on a standardized hardware platform including digital signal processing (DSP) processors and general purpose processors are used to perform radio functions such as transmitting and receiving signals.

What are the advantages of SDR?

  • The ability to try new things (for example, the freedom to develop new protocols)
  • Exclusion of analog hardware and its associated costs, resulting in simpler and better functioning radio architectures.
  • The ability to detect and prevent intrusion from other communication networks.
  • The ability to choose a frequency range and mode best suited to current conditions.
  • The ability to use a standard collection of material to receive and transmit different modulation methods.

Important applications of software-defined radios

The radio definition of SDR software can be applied to various situations:

Software-defined radio technology has been used quite effectively by radio amateurs to increase the efficiency and versatility of the device.

Software-defined radio technology has been widely adopted by the military, allowing them to reuse hardware and upgrade signal waveforms as needed.

Many research projects benefit from software-defined radio, or SDR. Without having to start from scratch, radios can be programmed to provide exact transmitter and receiver specifications for any application.

In areas such as mobile communications, software-defined radios are extremely useful. By updating the program, it is possible to make adjustments to all specifications and even incorporate new waveforms without having to upgrade the hardware. This can also be done remotely, resulting in significant cost savings.

SDR technology can be used in a variety of other applications, allowing the radio to be fine-tuned to specifications through software changes.

What is the difference between FPGA, DSP and GPP methods for SDR implementation?

There are several methods for designing and implementing SDR modules on hardware platforms, including: Field Programmable Gate Array (FPGA), Digital Signal Processor (DSP), and General Purpose Processor (GPP) . The following table compares various SDR design methods based on various parameters such as performance, energy efficiency, cost, throughput, and cost, among others. This table helps in selecting the best method for SDR designs.

Settings FPGA DSP GPP
Form factor Small Way Big
Execution Very parallel Partially partial Sequential
Enter exit User configurable ports Dedicated ports Dedicated ports
Cost Moderate Low Moderate
Debit High Way Low
Energetic efficiency High Way Low
Calculation User configurable logic Fixed arithmetic engine Fixed arithmetic motor

SDR technology aims to cut costs by providing end users with seamless wireless communications – allowing them to connect with who they want, when they want and in the way they need. According to Research Dive, the global software-defined radio market is expected to generate revenue of $ 16,455.8 million by 2027, with a CAGR of 4.4% in 2020-2027. From end users to business travelers to frontline soldiers, SDR technology benefits everyone.

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