Digital Communication Systems Engineering Using Software Defined Radio

Modern society is increasingly becoming dependent on digital communication systems in order to function properly, with a growing number of applications relying on these devices, e.g., personal health/body networks, defense/homeland security, navigation/localization, social networking, vehicular transportation. Consequently, digital communication systems education employing instructional laboratory guides via a “hands-on” learning approach would significantly help individuals studying in this concentration to synthesize many of these concepts by realizing them in actual prototype systems and conduct real-time “over-the-air” communication experiments.  Given the complexity of these modern digital communication systems, especially those based on software-defined radio (SDR) technology, which requires an integrated understanding of the fundamentals from the communications and networking concentration as well as from other concentrations, it is expected that this hands-on educational paradigm will provide individuals with a systems-level understanding (breadth) of a modern digital communications device while focusing on several key aspects (depth) in the design and implementation of these systems.

With the generous technical and financial support of The Mathworks, this digital communication systems engineering approach will provide individuals with hands-on exposure to the design and implementation of modern digital communication systems using software-defined radio technology.  The prototyping and experimentation of these systems via software-defined radio will enable greater flexibility in the assessment of design trade-offs as well as the illustration of “real world” operational behavior. Performance comparisons with quantitative analytical techniques will be conducted in order to reinforce digital communication system design concepts.  Experimentation topics include software-defined radio architectures and implementations, digital signaling and data transmission analysis in noise, digital receiver structures (matched filtering, correlation), multicarrier communication techniques, radio frequency spectrum sensing and identification (energy detection, matched filtering), and fundamentals of radio resource management.


Electronic Resources for “Digital Communication Systems Engineering with Software-Defined Radio”

The book by Di Pu and Alexander M. Wyglinski, entitled: “Digital Communication Systems Engineering with Software-Defined Radio” (Artech House, February 2013, ISBN: 978-1-60807-525-6), presents a comprehensive educational framework for learning digital communication systems engineering using software-defined radio technology, ranging from the detailed coverage of several fundamental theoretical concepts to the step-by-step process of conducting actual over-the-air experimentation of digital communication systems using SDR.  To assist the interested individual, there exists several electronic resources designed to support this book:

  •  A collection of 26 online lectures designed to complement the material convered in the book are available via YouTube.
  •  Source code for the experiments presented in Chapter 5, Chapter 6, Chapter 7, and Chapter 8 are available via GitHub.


Freely Available SDR Laboratory Materials

Disclaimer: These laboratory guides and associated source code are offered for informational purposes and information exchange, and WPI and/or Professor Wyglinski are not liable for any damages or losses resulting from the use of these laboratory guides and associated source code.

The following laboratory guides and source code were employed during the course, ECE4305 “Software-Defined Radio Systems and Analysis”, at WPI during the Spring 2011 semester, and have been optimized for usage with MATLAB R2010b and the USRP2 (non-UHD) software-defined radio platform:

Note: When employing these laboratory guides and source code, please reference the following conference publication in order to provide proper credit for this work:

Alexander M. Wyglinski, Di Pu, Daniel J. Cullen. “Digital Communication Systems Education via Software-Defined Radio Experimentation.” Proceedings of the 118th ASEE Annual Conference and Exposition (Vancouver, BC, Canada), 26-29 June 2011.


Useful Links

Here are several links to online resources that might be useful when employing these resources and materials: