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The software radio concept

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1 Author(s)
Buracchini, E. ; CSELT, Torino, Italy

Since early 1980 an exponential blowup of cellular mobile systems has been observed, which has produced, all over the world, the definition of a plethora of analog and digital standards. In 2000 the industrial competition between Asia, Europe, and America promises a very difficult path toward the definition of a unique standard for future mobile systems, although market analyses underline the trading benefits of a common worldwide standard. It is therefore in this field that the software radio concept is emerging as a potential pragmatic solution: a software implementation of the user terminal able to dynamically adapt to the radio environment in which it is, time by time, located. In fact, the term software radio stands for radio functionalities defined by software, meaning the possibility to define by software the typical functionality of a radio interface, usually implemented in TX and RX equipment by dedicated hardware. The presence of the software defining the radio interface necessarily implies the use of DSPs to replace dedicated hardware, to execute, in real time, the necessary software. In this article objectives, advantages, problem areas, and technological challenges of software radio are addressed. In particular, SW radio transceiver architecture, possible SW implementation, and its download are analyzed

Published in:

Communications Magazine, IEEE  (Volume:38 ,  Issue: 9 )