Sarah Yost, Senior Product Marketing Manager from National Instruments connect the potential of SDR and what oddities make it more crony for wireless systems. Sarah, while talking to Niloy Banerjee tangents towards MIMO concept, NI’s commitment towards the development of 5G ecosystem and a lot more packed in this interview. Edited Nub.
1. What key factors are behind the popularity of Software-defined radio (SDR) in recent time and How is NI contributing towards this trend?
SDRs take advantage of the low-cost tuneable RF front ends and a combination of FPGA and x86 processing. As processors have become smaller and less expensive, it has become possible to implement complex signal processing on (relatively) affordable systems to mimic wireless communications technology. NI has prioritized using high-end FPGAs on our SDRs to give users powerful platforms to prototype communications systems.
- What benefits does SDRs bring in next-gen wireless communications systems prototyping?
SDRs have enabled researchers to prototype wireless systems at a price point and performance level that was not available for previous generations of wireless research. Prototyping, and specifically being able to run the full bandwidth physical layer in real time, has allowed researchers to explore how complex technologies will perform in real-world scenarios without needing to spin algorithm specific hardware. This way algorithms can be validated and optimized before any hardware design is needed.
- What key solution is NI providing in this space and what key factors make it a standalone solution in this domain?
In addition to developing high-end SDR hardware, NI has focused on developing standards-based IP to run these SDRs. This gives researchers an advanced starting place for wireless research. NI is committed to building standards compliant software for 5G NR to create a platform to research and validate 5G systems and the deep vertical applications built on top of 5G.
- Recent Trends in Software Defined Radio Design and Applications?
Check out our 3GPP release 16 white paper for more details:
Here is a limited summary of some hot applications for wireless communications that people are researching using SDRs:
- How to use machine learning and AI to improve wireless networks
- Non-terrestrial networks
- Terahertz frequencies for communications
- What have been the key reasons behind the development of MIMO concept within an SDR?
The key reason for the use of MIMO in SDRs is due to the market demands from the wireless industry. Spectrum is a limited resource, and there is global pressure to make our spectral use as efficient as possible. MIMO is a great way to due this. Because SDRs are able to share clocks and triggers, they have been a great platform to build large testbeds and drive massive MIMO from a theoretical concept to a fully commercialized technology in less than 10 years.
- How is India as a market for SDR?
The relatively low cost of SDRs makes it a great technology fit for India. There has been a lot of focus on theory at major Indian Universities and we are seeing SDRs beginning to change that.
- There are other major players dominating this market, what keeps NI ahead of the competitive curve?
There are a lot of other players in the SDR market, but what makes NI unique is our focus on high-performance SDRs and commitment to developing standards-based IP. Many other options are low cost and from small suppliers. NI provides compliance certifications on its SDRs and has the ability to ship globally as a trusted supplier to our customers.