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Sample-Based Understanding of Wireless Transceivers and Digital Transmission Via Software-Defined Radio

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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

Electrical and Computer Division Technical Session 12

Tagged Division

Electrical and Computer

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Paper Authors


Alexander M. Wyglinski Worcester Polytechnic Institute

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Alexander M. Wyglinski is an Associate Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering and an Associate Professor of Robotics Engineering at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI), as well as Director of the Wireless Innovation Laboratory (WI Lab). He received his Ph.D. degree from McGill University in 2005, his M.S. degree from Queens University at Kingston in 2000, and his B.Eng. degree from McGill University in 1999, all in electrical engineering.

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Travis Fredrick Collins Worcester Polytechnic Institute


Robin Getz Analog Devices Orcid 16x16

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Robin is currently the Director of Systems Engineering at Analog Devices, and has over twenty years of diverse industry experience in engineering leadership, product marketing and sales with multi-national semiconductor firms, spending his last 15 years at Analog Devices Inc. He has a successful track record of being a highly motivated, strategic thinker, with a passion for technology, and education. Robin currently manages a multi-national, multi-disciplinary team of engineers who deliver high volume board designs, overseeing schematic capture, layouts, initial and volume manufacturing, EMI, ESD and vibration testing for regulatory compliance (CE, FCC), and production test development, and mechanical design for boxing/packaging, for both OEM customers and ADI's education outreach. For the past five years, Robin has been spending a majority of his time working with the combination of ARM, FPGA, and RF transceivers, for SDR applications.

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This paper presents an educational paradigm for the teaching of wireless transceiver design and digital transmission techniques from a sample-based perspective using compact form-factor software defined radio (SDR) technology. SDR has been extensively leveraged as an educational resource for the instruction of both undergraduate- and graduate-level digital communication courses for approximately a decade. Given decreasing SDR equipment costs coupled with increasing accessibility to communication system software design tools, SDR technology had been incorporated in numerous electrical and computer engineering curricula around the world. Although most of these SDR-based communication courses view the system from a bit-, frame-, or packet-based perspective and are constrained to laboratory environments, we present an educational framework where the curriculum is sample-based, i.e., the entire communication system is viewed from the analog-to-digital converter (ADC) and the digital-to-analog converter (DAC), and the SDR platforms used are sufficiently compact that students can use them anywhere. The curriculum begins with the fundamentals of wireless communication systems engineering and the handling of complex-valued samples produced by and sent to the ADC and DAC, followed by exposure to several practical aspects of wireless transmission and transceiver implementations such as frequency offset, timing correction, and frame synchronization. Once these basic practical design considerations have been addressed, the course continues with the implementation of various modulation (e.g., ASK, PSK, FSK) and coding (e.g., BCH) schemes, with the objective of successfully transmitting ”hello world” and other messages wirelessly over-the-air within a classroom environment. Finally, several advanced topics such as multipath propagation, equalization, and multicarrier modulation are covered. Throughout the course, the students will be working in groups on a comprehensive course design project that synthesizes many of the concepts taught in class. Although this educational paradigm can use any SDR platform capable of handling complex-valued samples (i.e., inphase samples and quadrature samples), the ADALM-PLUTO SDR platform by Analog Devices was used in this course due to its capabilities and compact form factor.

Wyglinski, A. M., & Collins, T. F., & Getz, R. (2017, June), Sample-Based Understanding of Wireless Transceivers and Digital Transmission Via Software-Defined Radio Paper presented at 2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Columbus, Ohio. 10.18260/1-2--28810

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