While searching for a research oriented project for the final year at the university i come across some interesting topics. Among them the software defined Radio was some thing i have never heard.
What is software defined Radio ;
We all know of the radios. And often we know that radio cards provide the hardware capability to use radio via a PC. And we have a software running to control the sound the channels. But cant we just go beyond that. Software defined radio is the proposed mechanism for doing that. Its simply implementing the hardware capabilities via software. Dont get it. lets pay a Closer look.
A closer look
Software radio is the technique of getting code as close to the antenna as possible. It turns radio hardware problems into software problems. The fundamental characteristic of software radio is that software defines the transmitted waveforms, and software demodulates the received waveforms. This is in contrast to most radios in which the processing is done with either analog circuitry or analog circuitry combined with digital chips. GNU Radio is a free software toolkit for building software radios.
Software radio is a revolution in radio design due to its ability to create radios that change on the fly, creating new choices for users. At the baseline, software radios can do pretty much anything a traditional radio can do. The exciting part is the flexibility that software provides you. Instead of a bunch of fixed function gadgets, in the next few years we'll see a move to universal communication devices.
What took so long ?
The concept of a software radio is not new. It has lasted for sometime until recently the PC s where cable of implementing and running the complex algorithms that implements the Digital to voice conversion. This is not as simple as it seems. As the only input that the computer gains is an Analog to digital converted data form their on its all software. So we have the code at the closest level to the antenna.
So what is the best part of this ?
Well that is yet to come. Imagine a device which you can plug into your computer and provide the relevant function Independent of the device. The potential is to build decentralized communication systems. If you look at today's systems, the vast majority are infrastructure-based. Broadcast radio and TV provide a one-way channel, are tightly regulated and the content is controlled by a handful of organizations. Cell phones are a great convenience, but the features your phone supports are determined by the operator's interests, not yours.Imagine a device that can morph into a cell phone and get you connectivity using GPRS, 802.11 Wi-Fi, 802.16 WiMax, a satellite hookup or the emerging standard of the day. You could determine your location using GPS, GLONASS or both. And the antenna working as a small radar station. A software defined Radar.
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