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Presentation to NSMA conference Rosslyn, VA May 21, 2002. Software Radio Technology. Dr. John Chapin CTO Vanu, Inc. One Porter Square, Suite 18 Cambridge, MA 02474 Vanu, Inc. Overview Founded September 1998 Spin-off from MIT SDR research project 1994–1998

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software radio technology

Presentation to NSMA conference

Rosslyn, VA

May 21, 2002

Software Radio Technology

Dr. John Chapin


Vanu, Inc.

One Porter Square, Suite 18

Cambridge, MA 02474

vanu inc
Vanu, Inc.
  • Overview
    • Founded September 1998
    • Spin-off from MIT SDR research project 1994–1998
    • Software vendor
  • Contracts
    • Military DARPA, JTRS Joint Program Office
    • Public Safety National Institute of Justice
    • Basic Research National Science Foundation, MDA
    • Automotive Telematics device for a Tier 1 Supplier
    • Surveillance Major defense conglomerate
software radio
Hardware Radio

Separate devices for different functions

Any fix or upgrade needs a hardware change

PCS voice

Analog VHF



Software Radio
  • Software Radio
    • One device for many functions
    • Upgrade through software change
sdr status in usa

Harris Falcon II, Motorola WITS

Since 1999, all DOD tactical radio procurements must be SDR

Military SDR standard: Joint Tactical Radio System (JTRS)


SDR devices always certifiable as if they were legacy devices

FCC task force began in 1998 on SDR-specific rules

Docket 00-47

Notice of Inquiry March 2000

NPRM December 2000

First R&O September 2001

SDR status in USA
different types of software radios

Portable SDR (a.k.a. Pure SWR)

    • Software costs amortized over many platforms
    • Easily upgrade hardware over time





  • Reconfigurable SDR
    • All signal processing reconfigurable
    • Significant use of FPGA or assembly code
Different types of software radios
  • Modal SDR
    • Software controls and configures the radio
    • ASIC or analog hardware


cell phone

sdr internals
SDR internals



Analog at carrier frequency

Digital samples



Radio Front End


RF tuning

Analog-Digital Conversion


No waveform-specific processing

Embedded computer

All waveform-specific

functions in software

software radio phase space
Software Radio Phase Space

A: HF STR-2000

B: COTS Handset

C: SWR Cell Site


V: Vanu, Inc. Software Radio

X: Ideal Software Radio

Source: Mitola, Joseph. “Software Radio Architecture: A Mathematical Perspective”, IEEE JSAC, April 1999.

vanu status radio front end for agility
Vanu status: Radio Front End for Agility
  • Multiple-IC board
    • Prototype quantities this summer
    • 30-512 MHZ, worldwide cellular & PCS bands
    • Low power, full duplex, cost $100s
  • Single IC
    • Ideal future platform, cost $10s
    • Manufacturers waiting for market to develop


  • Discrete components
    • Current TX limited to < 1 GHz, < 1 MHz wide
    • Separate front ends for receive and transmit
    • Cost $1000s
sdr tradeoffs
Higher power consumption

Reconfigurable processing vs dedicated circuits

Primarily an issue for battery-powered devices

Sensitivity/selectivity of radio front end

Challenging to achieve if highly agile system

Primarily an issue for surveillance, military applications

Lower gain if antenna is multi-band

Easy solution: attach 2 or 3 antennas

Primarily an issue for handheld devices

SDR ready today for many uses

SDR tradeoffs
for more information
For more information
  • FCC Docket 00-47
  • Two new books from Wiley
    • Tuttlebee, W., editor
    • Chapters by all the major players in the field
    • Software Defined Radio: Origins, Drivers and International Perspectives
    • Software Defined Radio: Enabling Technology
    • John