June 22, 2008
June 22, 2008
June 25, 2008
Electrical and Computer
13.460.1 - 13.460.8
Education in Software Defined Radio Design Engineering
Abstract— Software Defined Radio (SDR), an interdisciplinary emerging technology, presents new challenges for communications engineers and engineering educators. In SDR, signal modulation and information coding are defined in the system's software, not hardware. The authors have incorporated SDR design into their respective curricula both to support the growing demand for SDR engineering and to teach widely applicable systems engineering concepts. SDR-oriented curricular changes include new courses, laboratories, and software design tools. Software radio design is taught as an interdisciplinary systems engineering undertaking, emphasizing the importance of systems engineering methodologies, design architecture, and hardware issues. The Software Communications Architecture (SCA), a military SDR design standard, is used as an illustrative example of smart systems engineering through establishment of a well-defined architecture. Software topics include software architectures, object oriented programming, the SCA and other relevant software standards, multi-rate signal processing, and software engineering. Hardware topics include the radio frequency front end, analog-to-digital and digital-to-analog converters, microprocessors, digital signal processors, and field programmable gate arrays. Hands-on SDR laboratories undergird project-based learning. Laboratories include development of SCA-based modular signal processing components and SDR AM receivers. This equips students for design and implementation of more complex components or applications, preparing them for the challenges of SDR design in industry or government.
Software defined radio design is a key topic in the graduate communications engineering curricula at the authors’ universities. At each institution, this includes a lecture and laboratory course in software defined radio design, laboratory facilities for SDR design, and related research efforts. Very few universities include software defined radio in their curricula. In this paper, the authors discuss their SDR design curricula and the need for it, in the hopes of promoting and facilitating similar developments at other universities.
A. Rationale – why is SDR education important?
SDR design is an excellent topic to be included in graduate communications engineering curricula. SDRs are important for the wireless communications industry, the military, and the public safety sector. The demand for engineers with the appropriate skill set for software defined radio design is much greater than the current supply. SDR has long been implemented in base station design and is expected to be utilized in cell phones by 2010 and dominate cell phone designs in 20151. Also SDR design is a good example of the benefits of best practices in interdisciplinary engineering. SDR design is typical of the complex and multidisciplinary design projects that challenge practicing engineers today. In engineering education, it is important to remember that many of the engineering technologies our students will work with in their careers
Kragh, F., & Reed, J., & Dietrich, C., & Miller, D. (2008, June), Education In Software Defined Radio Design Engineering Paper presented at 2008 Annual Conference & Exposition, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. 10.18260/1-2--4112
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