An Assessment of Available Software Defined Radio Platforms Utilizing Iterative Algorithms


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As the demands of communication systems have become more complex and varied, software defined radios (SDR) have become increasingly popular. With behavior that can be modified in software, SDR's provide a highly flexible and configurable development environment. Despite its programmable behavior, the maximum performance of an SDR is still rooted in its hardware. This limitation and the desire for the use of SDRs in different applications have led to the rise of various pieces of hardware to serve as SDR platforms. These platforms vary in aspects such as their performance limitations, implementation details, and cost. In this way the choice of SDR platform is not solely based on the cost of the hardware and should be closely examined before making a final decision. This thesis examines the various SDR platform families available on the market today and compares the advantages and disadvantages present for each during development. As many different types of hardware can be considered an option to successfully implement an SDR, this thesis specifically focuses on general purpose processors, system on chip, and field-programmable gate array implementations. When examining these SDR families, the Freescale BSC9131 is chosen to represent the system on chip implementation, while the Nutaq PicoSDR 2x2 Embedded with Virtex6 SX315 is used for the remaining two options. In order to test each of these platforms, a Viterbi algorithm is implemented on each and the performance measured. This performance measurement considers both how quickly the platform is able to perform the decoding, as well as its bit error rate performance in order to ascertain the implementations' accuracy. Other factors considered when comparing each platform are its flexibility and the amount of options available for development. After testing, the details of each implementation are discussed and guidelines for choosing a platform are suggested.

Last modified
  • 2021-02-03
  • English
  • etd-050415-171045
Defense date
  • 2015
Date created
  • 2015-05-04
Resource type
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