Prototyping Multichannel Wireless Communication Systems

As wireless communications systems evolve beyond 5G, expand to low-Earth orbit, and extend to new frequencies and bandwidths, researchers and systems engineers must bring new capabilities from concept to the lab to deployment. A major obstacle on this journey is the time it takes to migrate IP from simulation to firmware and to build up boards and infrastructure to form a testbed for assessing the real-world performance of novel algorithms, waveforms, and components. Wireless researchers require:


  • Phase coherence across all channels to enable multiple input, multiple output (MIMO) communications systems
  • Wide-bandwidth I/Q data to be streamed to a server for advanced CPU- and GPU-based processing
  • IP to be directly migrated from simulation to real-world hardware for realistic assessment of algorithm performance

Open Architecture for Communications Research (OACR)

  • N320/N321 USRP devices are networked software defined radios that allow sharing of local oscillators across units, providing phase coherency across an array. 
  • The USRP Hardware Driver™ (UHD) and RF Network on Chip (RFNoC™) support open-source development and simplify heterogeneous processing with FPGAs in SDR applications.
  • OctoClock-G Clock Distribution Units provide a high-accuracy timing reference that allows developers to align multichannel systems within ~50 ns. 
  • Freely available application software is provided in C++, built upon the RFNoC API in UHD 4.0, providing out-of-the-box streaming and synchronization.

Solution Advantages

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Brochure—Open Architecture for Communications Research (OACR)

Discover how OACR can be used as the blueprint for building a prototyping testbed for novel wireless and SATCOM algorithms, waveforms, and architectures. Explore the time-saving benefits of working from a validated starting point with system-level synchronization and data movement specifications.

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