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A Mobile Platform Using Software Defined Radios for Wireless Communication Systems Experimentation

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2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Columbus, Ohio

Publication Date

June 24, 2017

Start Date

June 24, 2017

End Date

June 28, 2017

Conference Session

EET Papers 1

Tagged Division

Engineering Technology

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Paper Authors


Otilia Popescu Old Dominion University

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Dr. Otilia Popescu received the Engineering Diploma and M.S. degree from the Polytechnic Institute of Bucharest, Romania, and the PhD degree from Rutgers University, all in Electrical and Computer Engineering. Her research interests are in the general areas of communication systems, control theory, signal processing, and engineering education. She is currently an Assistant Professor in the Department of Engineering Technology, Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Virginia. In the past she has worked for the University of Texas at Dallas, University of Texas at San Antonio, Rutgers University, and Politehnica University of Bucharest. She is a senior member of the IEEE, serves as associate editor for IEEE Communication Letters, and has served in the technical program committee for the IEEE ICC, WCNC, RWW, VTC, GLOBECOM, and CAMAD conferences.

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Shiny Abraham Seattle University

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Shiny Abraham is an Assistant Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Seattle University. She received the B.E. degree in Telecommunication Engineering from Visveswaraiah Technological University (VTU), India in 2007 and Ph.D. from Old Dominion University, Norfolk, VA in 2012. Her research interests span the areas of Wireless Communication, Internet of Things (IoT), Optimization using Game Theory, and Engineering Education Research. She is a member of the IEEE and ASEE, a technical program committee member for IEEE Globecom, ICC, ICCCN and VTC conferences, and a reviewer for several international journals and conferences.

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Samy El-Tawab James Madison University

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Dr. Samy El-Tawab received his Ph.D. in Computer Science from Old Dominion University, Norfolk, VA, USA in 2012. Dr. El-Tawab is currently an Assistant Professor at James Madison University, Harrisonburg, VA, USA. His main research interests include working on the issues surrounding Intelligent Transportation, (VANET) Vehicular Ad-Hoc Networks, Sensor Networks, Multimedia Communication, Cloud Networks, Voice-over-IP and Computer Security. Dr. El-Tawab introduced a system named “FRIEND”: A Cyber-Physical System for Traffic Flow Related Information aggrEgatioN and Dissemination. In 2009, he was awarded a prize for Excellence in Scholarship at The College of William and Mary’s 8th Annual Graduate Research Symposium. He has more than 20 publications including journal/conference papers, book chapters, and posters. He also serves as a reviewer in several journals and conferences.

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A distinctive feature of wireless communication systems is implied by the fact that there is no physical connection between a transmitter and its corresponding receiver, which enables user mobility. However, experimenting with wireless communication systems is mostly done in the lab, where transmitters and receivers are setup on benches, in stationary settings. This prevents students from experiencing fading and other propagation effects associated with mobile wireless channels. The mobile platform described in this paper enables students to run wireless communication experiments beyond the confines of a traditional lab, in realistic settings that cover indoor and outdoor scenarios with both fixed and mobile propagation characteristics. The platform consists of software-defined radio (SDR) boards that are used to implement the wireless transmitter and receiver, laptop computers used to program the SDR boards, and equipment for visualizing radio signal characteristics such as a portable spectrum analyzer or oscilloscope. Unlike other SDR platforms used in the lab for wireless communications experiments, where similar boards are used for both the transmitter and the receiver, in our platform the transmitter is implemented on a Universal Software Radio Peripheral (USRP) from National Instruments, while the receiver is implemented using the affordable RTL-SDR USB dongle. This choice results in a moderate overall cost for the radio hardware required by the platform, which can be easily programmed using open source software such as GNU Radio as well as software packages like Matlab or LabView. For outdoor wireless scenarios with fixed propagation characteristics, both the transmitter and the receiver are located on the rooftops of various campus buildings to enable line-of-sight propagation of the radio signals and to allow students to study distance-based signal attenuation in wireless communication systems. For experimentation in wireless scenarios with low mobility (both indoors and outdoors, corresponding to walking speeds) the transmitter and receiver may be placed on push carts, while for higher mobility they may be placed on university owned golf carts moving at faster speeds on the designated campus routes. Furthermore, mobile transmitters and receivers may also be placed in cars driving on the campus streets and through the university parking lots/garages to enable experiments simulating vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) and vehicle-to-infrastructure (V2I) communications.

Popescu, O., & Abraham, S., & El-Tawab, S. (2017, June), A Mobile Platform Using Software Defined Radios for Wireless Communication Systems Experimentation Paper presented at 2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Columbus, Ohio. 10.18260/1-2--27482

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