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Software-Defined Radio: Principles and Applications

Travis Collins

Software-defined radio (SDR) has transitioned from primarily a research topic to a common tool used by practitioners in many fields of RF. Made possible through hardware integrations, economics, and the growth of processing power. Making SDR devices accessible to the masses and providing a high configuration ceiling for advanced users.

In this talk, we will discuss the evolution of SDR and the key driving forces and methodologies behind both the hardware and software ecosystems. We will provide insights into the philosophies of current and historical SDR architectures. This will include several examples and demos with modern devices like transceivers and RF data converters. Throughout the different discussions, the talk will focus on the usage models and practical workflows that have been developed over the years to leverage the flexibility of SDRs. Touching upon and connecting the complex tooling for FPGAs, embedded processors, and high-performance x86 that are used in applications like communications, radar, and instrumentation. Finally, an outlook upon the next frontier of SDR in the space of Direct-RF and its related challenges will be discussed.

In general, this talk will provide a solid foundation to those new to SDR and provide context for the next generation of solutions for seasoned professionals. The talk will also connect the dots among the sea of software and hardware that has flourished over the last few decades for SDR.

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