Hardware for Your Software Radio

How to get to the cutting edge of radio technology

6 min read
Universal Software Radio Peripheral designer Matt Ettus poses with his invention and some of the daughterboards used to operate in different frequency ranges.
Radio Star: Universal Software Radio Peripheral designer Matt Ettus poses with his invention and some of the daughterboards used to operate in different frequency ranges.
Photo: Quinn Norton

What’s going to be the next big thing in wireless technology? My bet is software-defined radio, and thanks to a piece of hardware called the Universal Software Radio Peripheral, or USRP, you can get right to the bleeding edge today.

Currently, adding an audio, video, or data stream to a radio signal so it can be broadcast—a process known as modulation—is nearly always done by dedicated electronics. The same is true with the reverse process—demodulation—required to receive a transmission. Radio waves can be modulated in any number of ways, and each way requires different circuitry. This is why you can’t, say, use a TV designed for the U.S. NTSC broadcast standard and expect it to work in Europe, which uses mostly the PAL standard.

Keep Reading ↓Show less

This article is for IEEE members only. Join IEEE to access our full archive.

Join the world’s largest professional organization devoted to engineering and applied sciences and get access to all of Spectrum’s articles, podcasts, and special reports. Learn more →

If you're already an IEEE member, please sign in to continue reading.

Membership includes:

  • Get unlimited access to IEEE Spectrum content
  • Follow your favorite topics to create a personalized feed of IEEE Spectrum content
  • Save Spectrum articles to read later
  • Network with other technology professionals
  • Establish a professional profile
  • Create a group to share and collaborate on projects
  • Discover IEEE events and activities
  • Join and participate in discussions

Why Functional Programming Should Be the Future of Software Development

It’s hard to learn, but your code will produce fewer nasty surprises

11 min read
Vertical
A plate of spaghetti made from code
Shira Inbar
DarkBlue1

You’d expectthe longest and most costly phase in the lifecycle of a software product to be the initial development of the system, when all those great features are first imagined and then created. In fact, the hardest part comes later, during the maintenance phase. That’s when programmers pay the price for the shortcuts they took during development.

So why did they take shortcuts? Maybe they didn’t realize that they were cutting any corners. Only when their code was deployed and exercised by a lot of users did its hidden flaws come to light. And maybe the developers were rushed. Time-to-market pressures would almost guarantee that their software will contain more bugs than it would otherwise.

Keep Reading ↓Show less
{"imageShortcodeIds":["31996907"]}