What Is Software-Defined Radio (SDR)?

Design and prototype SDR systems with MATLAB and Simulink

A software-defined radio (SDR) is a wireless device that typically consists of a configurable RF front end with an FPGA or programmable system-on-chip (SoC) to perform digital functions. Commercially available SDR hardware can transmit and receive signals at different frequencies to implement wireless standards from FM radio to Wi-Fi and LTE.

Wireless engineers can use software-defined radio hardware as a cost-effective, real-time platform for a range of wireless engineering tasks, including:

  • Over-the-air lab and field testing with live RF signals
  • Rapid prototyping of custom radio functions
  • Hands-on learning of wireless communications concepts and design skills

Using a software-defined radio together with MATLAB® and Simulink® for wireless design, simulation, and analysis enables engineers and students to:

MATLAB and Simulink Hardware Support for SDR

MATLAB and Simulink provides support packages for popular SDR hardware. You can communicate with these SDR platforms directly from MATLAB and Simulink to perform radio-in-the-loop testing, prototyping, and hands-on learning.

See also: RF system, LTE tutorial, Communications Toolbox, massive MIMO, Communications Toolbox Library for ZigBee and UWB, What Is Bluetooth LE?, beamforming