This research article presents the design and development of a portable software radio prototype built with commercial off-the-shelf components and open-source software.
The authors summarize the design and development of a portable software radio prototype built primarily using commercial off-the-shelf components and open-source software. The authors’ research group leverages these prototypes for several funded projects focusing on issues including interoperable public safety communications, cognitive wireless networks, and educational initiatives. The device components include a general-purpose processor on a small-form-factor motherboard, radio hardware, touchscreen and LCD, audio microphone and speaker, and an internal battery enabling hours of mobile operation. The authors describe the selection of hardware and software components, identification and modification of the operating system, and development of an application programming framework that augments the selected radio software. The authors discuss trade-offs in the selection of hardware and software, decisions that proved to be stable throughout the lifetime of the project, issues that arose, and lessons learned along the way. Significant advances over the past decade have made GPP-based software radio a viable solution in many areas, and this work demonstrates that today's processors are capable of enabling a new generation of software radio in portable form factor devices. (Publisher abstract provided)