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  • T-109.551 Research Seminar on Telecommunications Business II SOFTWARE DEFINED RADIO Kai Kuikkaniemi 52676k 2.4.2003 T-109.551 Research Seminar on Telecommunications Business II Software defined radio Kai Kuikkaniemi 52676k 2.4.2003
  • T-109.551 Research Seminar on Telecommunications Business II SOFTWARE DEFINED RADIO Kai Kuikkaniemi 52676k 2.4.2003 T-109.551 RESEARCH SEMINAR ON TELECOMMUNICATIONS BUSINESS II......................................................................................................1 SOFTWARE DEFINED RADIO.........................................................................1 Kai Kuikkaniemi..........................................................................................................1 52676k............................................................................................................................1 2.4.2003..........................................................................................................................1 1. INTRODUCTION...........................................................................................5 1.1 Software Defined Radio briefly.............................................................................5 1.2 History.....................................................................................................................5 1.3 Big picture (open architecture).............................................................................6 1.4 Driving forces..........................................................................................................7 1.5 Functional chain (from transmitter to receiver).................................................8 1.6 Tiers ......................................................................................................................10 Tier 0. Hardware Radio............................................................................................11 Tier 1. Software Controlled Radio...........................................................................11 Tier 2. Software Defined Radio...............................................................................11 Tier 3. Ideal Software Defined Radio......................................................................12 Tier 4. Ultimate Software Radio..............................................................................12 2. METHODOLOGY........................................................................................13 2.1 Objective of the study...........................................................................................13 2.2 Research method..................................................................................................13 2.3 Structure of the study ..........................................................................................13 3. TECHNOLOGY ...........................................................................................14 3.1 Antennas................................................................................................................14 3.2 Hardware enablers [8].........................................................................................14 RF enablers...............................................................................................................15 Digital enablers.........................................................................................................15 3.3 Software enablers [8]............................................................................................16 Software Communication Architecture (SCA)........................................................16 Waveform Development Environment (WDE)........................................................16
  • T-109.551 Research Seminar on Telecommunications Business II SOFTWARE DEFINED RADIO Kai Kuikkaniemi 52676k 2.4.2003 Radio Definition Language (RDL)...........................................................................17 Radio Virtual Machine (RVM)................................................................................17 4. APPLICATIONS..........................................................................................17 4.1 Software phone.....................................................................................................17 4.2 Amateur radio ......................................................................................................18 4.3 Military..................................................................................................................18 4.4 Base stations..........................................................................................................19 4.5 Civil applications..................................................................................................19 5. BUSINESS...................................................................................................20 5.1 General business related advantages..................................................................20 5.2 Value propositions [10]........................................................................................20 Benefits to Consumers:............................................................................................20 Benefits to Operators:...............................................................................................21 Benefits to Manufacturers:.......................................................................................21 5.3 Cost – Benefit analysis ........................................................................................22 5.4 Market overview...................................................................................................22 5.5 Timeline [12].........................................................................................................23 5.6 Future prospects...................................................................................................23 5.7 Secondary markets [3].........................................................................................24 6.CURRENT SITUATION................................................................................24 6.1 Case examples of implementation.......................................................................25 SPEAKEasy [13]......................................................................................................25 CRC demo [14]........................................................................................................25 Radical horizon [15].................................................................................................26 SDRCT (SDR Communications Technologies) [16]...............................................26 6.2 Problems................................................................................................................26 Hackers, disruption of current radio frequencies.....................................................26 Regulatory point of view [3]....................................................................................27 6.3 Parallel development:...........................................................................................27 GNU radio [17].......................................................................................................27 Open radio platform [18].........................................................................................27
  • T-109.551 Research Seminar on Telecommunications Business II SOFTWARE DEFINED RADIO Kai Kuikkaniemi 52676k 2.4.2003 7. CONCLUSION.............................................................................................27 REFERENCES.................................................................................................28 ABBREVIATIONS...........................................................................................29
  • T-109.551 Research Seminar on Telecommunications Business II SOFTWARE DEFINED RADIO Kai Kuikkaniemi 52676k 2.4.2003 1. Introduction 1.1 Software Defined Radio briefly Software Defined Radio (SDR) is not, like normally in technical terms, referring to any single technology, but the means the idea of controlling radio functionality (operating frequencies, modulations) both in transmitter and/or receiver side can be (is) manipulated with software. There are several different levels (tiers) that SDR can be implemented (this is describer further in chapter 1.6 Tiers), there are several different applications and in addition there are also different architectures and methods how it can be done. SDR has definite uses in future when the wireless networking environment becomes more and more complex. But at the same time it could provide benefits there are few technical and regulatory problems involving to SDR. 1.2 History Origins of Software Defined Radio development comes from military [1], where its flexibility was rather early in nineties found out to be very useful quality. Currently still the largest implementations of SDR are related to US military (see chapter 6.1 case SPEAKEasy). Current radio architecture (even the digital one) basically dates back to 70’s. Meaning that for a long time the radio technology is based on similar type of rigid component structure. SDR could be the first disruptive technology in this area [2]. First ideas of SDR popped up already in the end of 80’s and it was known in some extent already in beginning of 90’s. Currently SDR related activities are orchestrated by SDRForum (www.sdrforum.org). SDRForum was originally called Modular Multifunction Information Transfer System (MMITS) Forum, which was rather ideological initiative covering wide range of future technologies. But when the SDR started to lift of and became the most important activity of MMITS it changed the name to SDRForum in order to clarify its position and become more concrete instance.
  • T-109.551 Research Seminar on Telecommunications Business II SOFTWARE DEFINED RADIO Kai Kuikkaniemi 52676k 2.4.2003 The development and ideology of SDR has clear analogy with the development of multitasking in computers. The idea and the advantages of the technology have been long known, but there are some critical points when the technology becomes reality. Multitasking in PC’s required development of both OS technology and hardware power. The driving forces why the SDR is relevant now are discussed in chapter 1.4. 1.3 Big picture (open architecture) Where is SDR’s position in the big transition that is taking place in networking? Following analysis is based on FCC Chief Dale Natfeld’s views when he was presenting his views on SDR [3]. The transition (or conversion) is taking place in many different areas, these can be divided semi chronologically to following. 1. Conversion from analog to digital networks 2. Conversion from circuit switching to packet switching 3. Conversion from narrowband to broadband transmission 4. Improvements, or better reductions, in the transmission qualities (delay or latency exhibited by networks utilizing packet switching) 5. Ability to deploy not only wired networks with these advanced capabilities, but wireless networks as well According to him these transitions clearly indicate that we are evolving to a situation where we have high performance networks of networks. In addition to high performance it is also important that the communication can take place anytime, anyplace and in combination of several modes like voice, text, data, and video. Besides the modes there are also different communication formats, push, pull and multicast, just to name the most common. The features I listed based on Natfeld’s analysis and my own are already with fixed networks a complicated task. In wireless world some of the features become even more dominant (and interesting and beneficial), but at the same time the technological complexity increases. SDR could be a key element in this wireless networking environments in order to manage and handle the provision of all these various features. It is not a necessity and it is not a core
  • T-109.551 Research Seminar on Telecommunications Business II SOFTWARE DEFINED RADIO Kai Kuikkaniemi 52676k 2.4.2003 in any future standard, but at the same time it could be implemented to any of those, for example to 3G. 1.4 Driving forces In this chapter I want to discuss the underlying driving forces that led to development of SDR, and especially why SDR is relevant at this moment. The first and the most important enabler of SDR is naturally new hardware. If the hardware wouldn’t be that flexible and suitable to be programmed via software, there would be no point in talking about SDR. SDR without suitable hardware is just fantasy, so you see that Software Defined Radio doesn’t mean that hardware is replaced, actually quite vice versa it sets rather high demands for the hardware. When we are talking about hardware there are two fundamental, sort of abstract, parameters that should be kept separate. First of all components must have a wide functional area (e.g. that antennas can operate in wide frequency area, or that ADC can convert practically any signal efficiently). Another important feature is that the hardware (especially DSPs) us programmable and has proper interfaces. Programmable hardware has been already used in various places for some time now (for example in radios, in smaller functionalities). In addition to hardware there are some software requirements for the SDR. Basically SDR requires a real time software environment. Real time environments have been around for some time already, but not until recently there are also open sourced versions that have been suitable for initiative like SDR. Meaning that the proprietary technology that for example army is using is developed for some time already, but the market lead SDR development is a semi “open” movement. Besides the technology enablers there are also market push towards SDR. First and foremost the important market push are the quickly developing radio technologies. Both the operating frequency and the modulation change with the increasing phase. It would be only natural that also devices could be later on adapted to upcoming new environments. And at the same time there is all the time upcoming new network setups (like UWB, 3G, HiperLAN etc…) the
  • T-109.551 Research Seminar on Telecommunications Business II SOFTWARE DEFINED RADIO Kai Kuikkaniemi 52676k 2.4.2003 old remain more or less, which results that (especially in future) there are several parallel and concurrent networks available. Especially when these network environments change drastically from place to place (meaning for example that the environment in US is different than in Europe) and in time to time (e.g. secondary frequency markets which are discussed more in chapter 5). SDR also enables sort of ideological thinking, meaning that with SDR there is freedom and flexibility of new applications. If somebody has SDR enabled base stations and terminals they can practically invent their own communication standard, which is a great possibility in terms of innovations and understanding. At the same time there is of course some problems relating to possibility to hack existing networks (this is discussed more in chapter 6 problems). The requirement for easily configurable and manageable network structures comes more and more important when we start to think SDR enabled AdHoc and P2P networks. One similar innovation in this area is cognitive radio [4]. Last but not least the development of common, open and non-proprietary standards and protocols, has been very important factor in order for SDR to make sense. If the standards and protocols where closed, it would be much less interesting to have easily adaptable devices. If one don’t know what is the protocol, how can one adapt it devices in to it? Of course military and even some business type application of SDR make sense already without open protocols, but the biggest possibility of SDR to spread around and liberate common person communication requires open protocols to tap in. 1.5 Functional chain (from transmitter to receiver) In this chapter I explain the (digital) radio structure, meaning the components used in order to transmit something over the air and then finally converting it back it in to readable form. This is more or less the same as all common digital wireless network structure, but it is very important to understand this functional chain in order to understand where SDR has effect on and what is SDR’s playground. The following is based on Techtargets [5] definition and bit altering from normal it is tailored as a SDR definition.
  • T-109.551 Research Seminar on Telecommunications Business II SOFTWARE DEFINED RADIO Kai Kuikkaniemi 52676k 2.4.2003 A typical voice SDR transmitter, such as might be used in mobile two-way radio or cellular telephone communication, consists of the following stages? Those components that could be tailored and controlled with the software are marked with an asterisk (*). 1. Microphone and Audio amplifier are the input signal source. In case of other modes of communication (like data) this would be replaced by some other mechanism. 2. Analog-to-digital converter (ADC) converts the voice audio to ASCII data *. 3. Modulator that impresses the ASCII intelligence onto a radio-frequency (RF) carrier * 4. Series of Amplifiers that boosts the RF carrier to the power level necessary for transmission 5. Transmitting antenna  Resulting software manipulated digital radio signal A typical receiver designed to intercept the above-described voice SDR signal would employ the following stages, essentially reversing the transmitter's action? 1. Receiving antenna 2. Superheterodyne system that boosts incoming RF signal strength and converts it to a constant frequency. 3. Demodulator that separates the ASCII intelligence from the RF carrier * 4. Digital-to-analog converter (DAC) that generates a voice waveform from the ASCII data * 5. Audio amplifier and speaker, earphone or headsets This part would be replaced by some other components if the mode of communication would be different. Some of the following components (especially those marked with the asterisk) are then further discussed in technology chapter (chapter 3).
  • T-109.551 Research Seminar on Telecommunications Business II SOFTWARE DEFINED RADIO Kai Kuikkaniemi 52676k 2.4.2003 The image above (copyright SDRForum) shows what kind of structure a typical SDR architecture would have. In the picture one can see how the different levels in functional chain are tackled independently. This next image is more detailed illustration of the same system than in the previous image. Here one can also see the data and interaction flows between the components. 1.6 Tiers Already in the first chapter (1.1.) I mentioned how the SDR as a phenomenon can take place in several different tiers. The following tier division is based on SDRForums definitions and it basically reflects pretty well how they view the SDR’s possibilities and development [6].
  • T-109.551 Research Seminar on Telecommunications Business II SOFTWARE DEFINED RADIO Kai Kuikkaniemi 52676k 2.4.2003 Tier 0. Hardware Radio The tier 0 is not basically SDR at any ways, but is the most common current situation of the radio devices. No provision is made for any changes of system attributes except by physical intervention by the user or a service technician. System operation is accomplished by use of switches, dials, and buttons, by physically opening the covers, or by replacing the unit. This category also applies to radios that have some specific functions operated remotely by electromechanical means such as relays or servos. Internal use of software, firmware, or computer processing elements still fits this definition if they cannot be changed externally. Tier 1. Software Controlled Radio Tier 1 is the most elemental level of SDR. Radios in this category have control functionality implemented in software, but do not have the ability to change attributes, such as modulation and frequency band without changing hardware. Tier 2. Software Defined Radio The Tier 2 system provides a broad operational range (e.g. 20-500MHz, 1-2GHz) under software control without hardware change. These systems are typically characterized by a separate antenna system followed by some wideband filtering, amplification, and down-conversion prior to receive analog- to-digital conversion. The transmission chain provides the reverse function of direct digital-to-analog conversion, analog up-conversion, filtering, and amplification. This front-end equipment represents a constraint on the frequency coverage of the system, and its performance. It may be necessary to switch antennas to obtain the entire frequency range. Except for these constraints, however, the system is fully capable of covering a substantial frequency range and of executing software to provide a variety of modulation techniques, wide-band or narrow-band operation, communications security functions (such as hopping), and meet the waveform performance requirements of relevant legacy systems. An SDR is also capable of storing a large number of
  • T-109.551 Research Seminar on Telecommunications Business II SOFTWARE DEFINED RADIO Kai Kuikkaniemi 52676k 2.4.2003 waveforms or air interfaces, and of adding new ones to that storage through either disk or on-line load. Over-the-air software load is desirable, but not required in the definition. The system software should also be capable of applying new or replacement modules for added functionality or bug fixes without reloading the entire set of software. Tier 3. Ideal Software Defined Radio This system has all of the capabilities of the Tier 2 system, but eliminates analog amplification or heterodyne mixing prior to digital-analog conversion. It provides dramatically improved performance by eliminating analog sources of distortion and noise. Tier 4. Ultimate Software Radio This system description is intended for comparison purposes rather than implementation. It is a small lightweight component with very small current drain that can easily be incorporated into personal devices. It requires no external antenna, and no restrictions on operating frequency. It has a single connector that delivers the desired information in the desired format, typically digital. The connector also accepts information, uses it to modulate a signal, and radiates that signal in the desired waveform or air interface. The ultimate software radio also accepts control information through its connector to operate and reconfigure the operating software. It can switch from one air interface format to another in milliseconds, use GPS to track the users location, store money using smartcard technology, or provide video so that the user can watch a local broadcast station or receive a satellite transmission. Further, it has a large amount internal processing capacity, so with appropriate software it can perform a wide range of adaptive services for its user.
  • T-109.551 Research Seminar on Telecommunications Business II SOFTWARE DEFINED RADIO Kai Kuikkaniemi 52676k 2.4.2003 2. Methodology 2.1 Objective of the study This is a seminar paper for a Helsinki University of Technology (HUT) Telecommunication and Multimedia laboratory. The seminar topic is wireless networks, and the focus of the seminar is to analyse selected wireless technologies business side in technology perspective. This is the only paper in the seminar about SDR, so it is covering both the technical introduction of the topic and some business landscape analysis. Hence the title of the paper is simply SDR, referring that it is a general introductory paper. The purpose of the paper is not to dwell in technical details, but to provide comprehensive picture on the technology meanwhile analysing its business impact. As SDR is a technology that doesn’t have yet clear business case example the business side analysis is based mostly on opinions and predictions. 2.2 Research method The only research method in this study is literature review. There were no suitable books available about the topic so all the sources are found from Internet. One can criticize the validity of some sources, but most of the authors are highly regarded specialist on field and as such their writings should be valid. 2.3 Structure of the study The study is basically divided in to four sections. First there was this rather thick introduction (chapter 1). I wanted to have a long introduction because not one needs to understand not only the technology, but also the idea, ideology and the history of SDR before it is reasonable to discuss the business implications. Then comes this methodology section (current chapter 2), where I briefly go through the academic framework I used, when I did this paper. In terms of clarity the long first chapter doesn’t support the structure quite well, but there is a disruption almost in the middle of subject to these academic details, but I
  • T-109.551 Research Seminar on Telecommunications Business II SOFTWARE DEFINED RADIO Kai Kuikkaniemi 52676k 2.4.2003 hope it doesn’t pull the readers too much away from the core of the study, SDR that is. Third section (chapters 4-6) is the body of the study, where I go through both the technological and business analysis of the topic. Then finally there is the fourth conclusions section (chapter 7). As this is a literature review type of study with only common reasoning type of analysis, there are no significant findings that can be concluded in the end. So the conclusion is merely a summarizing type of final words for the study. 3. Technology 3.1 Antennas Software radio design begins at the antenna. In order to fully utilize the software radio approach it is important that antenna has good beam forming, diversity and sectorization qualities [7], [8]. Wideband (WB) and ultra wideband (UWB) antennas are antenna technologies, which enable accessibility to multiple RF bands dynamically, sequentially or in parallel. These wideband antenna technologies are aligned with the development of micro electro-mechanical systems (MEMS), which replace pin diodes, FETs etc…. Advances in the simulation techniques enable better management of these antenna technologies, when their behaviour in different situation can be modelled before hand and the signal tailored to the antenna qualities. Such technologies are known in military uses for some time now already, but step-by-step they are becoming also affordable in commercial cases when the demand of currently still niche products expands and the production cost of these high-tech components decrease. Wideband antennas are key to the successful deployment of software radio infrastructure. 3.2 Hardware enablers [8] Basically also antenna should belong to this category, but I wanted to emphasize the importance of the antenna as an enabler of well functioning SDR, so I made own chapter for it. The hardware enablers can be roughly divided in to two chapters RF enablers (which contains basically RF circuits,
  • T-109.551 Research Seminar on Telecommunications Business II SOFTWARE DEFINED RADIO Kai Kuikkaniemi 52676k 2.4.2003 antennas and MEMS) and to digital enablers (processing devices and communication fibres). RF enablers When most of the current commercial radio devices work in a limited frequency area (like GSM 900Mhz, and GSM dual band 900 + 1800Mhz etc…) especially governmental regulated SDR systems should operate in a rather frequency area from 2Mhz-2Ghz and even beyond (up to 5Ghz where many new standards are aiming). This requires special features from RF enabling hardware. Multiband (MB) and multimode (MM) chipsets are current answer to the requirements of the SDR. MEMS are the components that are backbone enabling the order of magnitude improvements in MM/MB chipsets. Further improvements are expected from novel RF signal processing methods. MEMS can be used in various points (like explained already earlier) in these new chipsets. Examples of components that MEMS can replace are bulky pin diodes, super-wide field-effect transistors (FET) and vacuum tube relays (VTR) in antennas. They can also be used as high-performance miniature inductors, capacitors, filters, T/R switches and diplexers in RF front ends. Digital enablers Advanced Field Programmable Gate Arrays (FPGA) product families are providing “system-on-chip” feature. These technologies basically contain embedded serial transceivers, RISC processor and some amount of programmable memory. In the end they provide the digital front-end for software configurable radio signal processing. Parallel to FPGA’s there is the development of general purpose processing. This basically means that a normal CPU’s would start to support SDR functionality (Intel announced that their all chipsets would support SDR functionality in the end on this decade! [9]). After there is enough processing power, the next bottle next is the internal system communication. Current technologies like PCI are not sufficient for high data rate requirements of most
  • T-109.551 Research Seminar on Telecommunications Business II SOFTWARE DEFINED RADIO Kai Kuikkaniemi 52676k 2.4.2003 advanced SDR systems. Different communication fabric technologies like Raceaway and Skychannel are answer to this problem. 3.3 Software enablers [8] Software enablers of SDR can be divided in to four categories. Software Communication Architecture (SCA), Waveform Development Environment (WDE), Radio Description Language (RDL) and Radio Virtual Machines. In addition to this there is need for real time operating system (that was discussed earlier) already. Software Communication Architecture (SCA) A new version of the SCA is under development by the Object Management Group (OMG) Software Radio Domain Special Interest Group (SR-DSIG) (http://swradio.omg.org/). This new SCA is being developed using the OMG Model Driven Architecture (MDA). The new Platform Independent Model (PIM) uses the JTRS SCA 2.2 as a Platform Specific Model (PSM) starting point, and extends the current SCA behavioral models. The new PIM, and the Minimum version which will follow, will probably be mapped to J2ME and other platforms. One of the major benefits of a platform independent model (PIM) standard is the ability to port the PIM to different platform specific models (PSM) using CE, .NET, CORBA, or Java. A second major benefit is the ability to certify compliance of various PSM’s. Since the PIM maps to PSM’s using basic OMG technologies such as the UML and XML, and since these technologies are capable of formal methods of proof, it is possible to formally prove compliance of a PSM/PIM pair as long as the mappings themselves are done with formal methods in mind (UML and XML). Waveform Development Environment (WDE) Impressive milestones have been reached in the WDE tools area, such as waveform development systems. Some of these toolsets employ “mainstream” simulation environments such as MATLAB and SIMULINK. Because of the platform specific optimization of IP cores and DSP algorithms, under some circumstances SIMULINK generated code on DSPs and FPGAs
  • T-109.551 Research Seminar on Telecommunications Business II SOFTWARE DEFINED RADIO Kai Kuikkaniemi 52676k 2.4.2003 may perform BETTER than when hand-coded. Related fields include Radio Definition Language (RDL) and Radio Virtual Machines (RVM). Radio Definition Language (RDL) RDL is a higher order language originally used to "construct" a radio functional model using RDL "building blocks". RDL is used to configure a flexible modem, describe the desired signal processing graph, and give parameters for each processing stage. It does NOT include implementations of signal processing stages, nor is it a waveform specification language. Radio Virtual Machine (RVM) The RVM is a hardware abstraction, which can significantly accelerate time to market. It brokers parallelism in multi-core, multiprocessor, and accelerated designs. It allows the interoperability of multivendor, real-time intellectual property at both 'whole-stack' level and 'stack-component' model. 4. Applications In this chapter I go quickly explain few key applications that SDR have. There are also several other applications. 4.1 Software phone SDR enabled wireless terminal, also called bit misleadingly a software phone, is basically a phone type of device that supports multiple networks by using SDR technology. Basically this means that a single terminal support for example that a single terminal, with a same bundled chip set could support cellular networks (2G to 3G, GSM, EDGE, GPRS, UMTS, CDMA and WCDMA), wireless LAN networks (WLAN protocols such as 802.11 and HyperLAN) and personal area networks (PANs like Bluetooth). In addition it could be also UWB (Ultra Wide Band) enabled which is an alternative technology to WLAN and PAN with
  • T-109.551 Research Seminar on Telecommunications Business II SOFTWARE DEFINED RADIO Kai Kuikkaniemi 52676k 2.4.2003 some additional functionalities. And it could, with the same chipset even take advantage of GPS (Global Positioning System) system, so enabling very high precision location information. There are of course some limitations, or better challenges, in order to achieve all these functionalities, when there are for example both circuit switched and packet switched network support in the same chipset. Still this is a very interesting possibility, and when it is possible it clearly demonstrates the advantages of SDR. If the chipset is build according to SDR ideology and it supports fully all the frequencies, modulations, modes and protocol features in this domain, the terminal can be quickly updated with software to support also upcoming new networks, which are not mentioned here. 4.2 Amateur radio Amateur radio [2] is perhaps the area where the biggest interest for open SDR system origins. The community of radio amateur worldwide could start to use more the computer as an interface for their communication. This community is experimenting all the time different models of and protocols of communication, and they would just love if they would have an open platform to tailor the chipset functionality to different setups. When they are currently heavily limited to the features that their hardwired receivers and transmitters can provide. At the same time the open platform with the radio amateurs could really liberate the communication environment, and potentially generate many new interesting innovations when a large pool of people have access to radio technologies, it contains also some problems. How to prevent radio amateurs (radio hackers) from disrupting licensed traffic. This problem is further discussed in the chapter 6. 4.3 Military For example in US military they have been able to integrate all together 20-30 different radio technologies (up to 750.000 individual radios) together by using SDR in some of the radios. So it is not a surprise that the leading edge of the SDR developments origins from military and their suppliers.
  • T-109.551 Research Seminar on Telecommunications Business II SOFTWARE DEFINED RADIO Kai Kuikkaniemi 52676k 2.4.2003 For example voice bridges are very important application that has many benefits in battlefields, and cannot be really implemented without SDR. “Voice bridge” basically means that ad-hocly any two to more military instances (patrols, vehicle telematics, plains and helicopters etc..) can create a communication connection without having specifically the same systems in place. SDR also enables better security when there is besides the encryption also the changeability of protocols, frequencies and modulations enabled, which can be used to protect the communication. Basically this means that when a violated connection is perceived it is possible to change the whole communication method on fly to something that cannot be immediately intercepted. US military SDR application SpeakEASY is explained in more detailed in chapter 6 where some other real world SDR cases are also discussed. In addition the military also advances very much international interoperability. Now-a-days military campaigns most often are a co-operation of several parties that have different kinds of communication systems. In order for these parties to collaborate they have to be able to quickly adopt to each other methods, and here SDR can be the key. 4.4 Base stations When the protocols are open, and there is available SDR type of architecture and components, it is possible to build different kinds of base stations much more easily than today. There are already some case examples, like SDRCT (discussed in chapter 6 more), where a vendor has developed a Linux – SDR based base station solution that is much more cheaper than the ones currently in market. SDR could really open currently rather oligopolic base station markets. And when the development would take place in multiple frontiers it could be really beneficial for end customers in terms of price and functionality. 4.5 Civil applications Similarly to military example also civil instances can advantage of SDR system. Some of case examples of such are portable command station for
  • T-109.551 Research Seminar on Telecommunications Business II SOFTWARE DEFINED RADIO Kai Kuikkaniemi 52676k 2.4.2003 crisis management, inter-agency communications when desired and instant routing of emergency information. For these needs there exists already Tetra networks (a civil secure cellular digital networks, cousins to GSM), but they are implemented only in few countries, and the further development phases of Tetra could defiantly benefit from SDR. 5. Business 5.1 General business related advantages When the hardware becomes more recyclable there is high potential for significant life-cycle cost reductions. Over the air downloads of new features and services as well as software patches enable that the both network and terminals can quickly adopt and take advantage of new technologies [10]. Advanced networking capabilities to allow truly "portable" networks And in the end the frequency space we have is very limited, and already now there are clear cases where the frequency band has been exhausted. SDR could enable much more efficient usage of frequency band by quickly adapting to utilize all available free spectrum. This is further discussed in chapter of secondary 5.2 Value propositions [10] In this chapter I go though the value propositions of identified by SDR in the perspective of the three most important stakeholder groups, which are customers, operators and manufacturers. Benefits to Consumers: Single SDR platform for multiple uses - allows customization and "true choice" meanwhile enabling access to broad range of media, content & applications. Basically this means ability to seamlessly roam across operator boundaries and achieve true mobility. SDR also offers the possibility of a richer set of features and services with an easy upgrade path for a variety of hand held devices and increases the lifetime of a hardware investment and provides insurance against obsolescence.
  • T-109.551 Research Seminar on Telecommunications Business II SOFTWARE DEFINED RADIO Kai Kuikkaniemi 52676k 2.4.2003 Benefits to Operators: SDR gives operators ability to roll out new services tailored to the various tiers of users on common hardware platform. With it operator can create simpler and faster test cases of new services and overall differentiate from other operators. It lowers the life-cycle costs of handsets, reduces component count and makes software upgrades of base-station faster and more flexible. One significant point where SDR can help is that when currently service and network operators have problems to identify others function with SDR type common platform the division can be made more clearly. Basically it could help operators to develop PC Internet business model to the wireless market by addressing the sale of content versus connection time, which can be very interesting route even tough it contains some possible problems also. Benefits to Manufacturers: For smaller vendors SDR offers ability to expand to new and adjacent markets with common network solutions. It enhances the true use of advanced techniques for spectrum utilization using smart antennas and adaptive signal processing. Currently the handsets are manufactured as is basis, and only cosmetic changing can be done later on. SDR platform could enable new business model in terms of "soft" additions of new features in terminals and easy adaptation to partner with ASPs & ISPs for enhanced revenue streams, which again might be a good thing but on the other hand manufacturers revenue logic is very dependent now-a-days on selling continuously every 2-3 years new handset to customers. Anyways the capability to upgrade services, features and security mechanisms over the air is very beneficial for everybody. In the manufacturing side SDR chipset could lower product cost due to reduced components (size reductions). At the same time for example terminal manufacturers could open more their interfaces for developers without introducing their core technology (software interface hides the hardware technology).
  • T-109.551 Research Seminar on Telecommunications Business II SOFTWARE DEFINED RADIO Kai Kuikkaniemi 52676k 2.4.2003 5.3 Cost – Benefit analysis According to Joseph Mitola [11] the cost benefit analysis for SDR could be based on the following logic. Life cycle costs include R&D, acquisition and operations and maintenance components. Key techniques in accurate cost/benefit analysis include parameterizing the relationship between the technical features of the system architecture (e.g. erlangs per square km), the techncial architecture (e.g. the number of VME processing modules needed per subscriber) and the projected revenue streams. But still in the end in case of SDR everything comes down to chip cost. Normally a dual-purpose chip cost (e.g. dual band GSM) around 1.5-1.7 times the cost of single purpose chip [11]. Then when there are more than two modes and or frequency areas that chip needs to function the cost increases around again with respective incremental amount. So if there are clear need to have a three or more network setups in a single chip, and a SDR chip capable for those networks cost around a two times more than single purpose chip, it is already profitable to turn in to SDR chip. Currently the price of SDR chip is not quite there, but in time when the market size increases it can clearly achieve such price performance. Another factor that is very important especially for smaller vendors and instances that would like to start implementing SDR products is the availability of COTS components. Currently components like MEMS are manufactured in various places, but in order to penetrate the commercial markets actually even the whole SDR enabled chip should become a COTS products, as well as software components and platforms based on which the SDR chip can be tailored. 5.4 Market overview Worldwide interest and investment in the SDR technologies is growing significantly, with key standardization and development efforts now taking place throughout Europe, North America, Japan, Korea, and China. In addition to the broad benefits listed in chapters above, SDR technologies offer unique benefits to players on every tier of the value chain [10].
  • T-109.551 Research Seminar on Telecommunications Business II SOFTWARE DEFINED RADIO Kai Kuikkaniemi 52676k 2.4.2003 Governing bodies like FCC (discussed in next chapter) are already heavily analysing SDR products and in SDR Forum there are currently 122 member companies and organisation (not Nokia, just to point out in Finnish perspective), which contribute to the forum activities monetarily and otherwise. Most of the companies that are developing already actual products are doing that for military or are technological spin-offs of military research for commercial purposes. There are few cases explained in next chapter. 5.5 Timeline [12] Based on (again) SDRForums market estimates the ramp-up of SDR technology market introduction has already began in the beginning of the millennium. According to them they are expecting a major boost in SDR technology with the 3G and 4G cellular networks. In their estimates the 3G is scheduled to have been ongoing already, which is, as we know, not true. In that perspective it is rather speculative that can SDR penetrate in mass markets, as expected, within next few years. It remains to be seen what wireless technologies ramp-up and when, but good thing for SDR is that if and when the network environment becomes more complex “network of networks” it really doesn’t matter what protocols, modes and frequencies are used, SDR is in all cases a very promising technology. 5.6 Future prospects In this chapter I would like to draw some future visions what SDR enable “network of networks” mean. I have referred to Joseph Mitola already before. He has a vision of cognitive radio [13], which would be base on SDR type of technologies. The idea in cognitive radio is that all radio equipments would sense all the time surroundings and communicate with each other in order to create the most efficient and robust networking conditions. For example pacemaker could have alternative operating frequencies, which could be immediately taken in to use if the primary operating frequency is occupied otherwise.
  • T-109.551 Research Seminar on Telecommunications Business II SOFTWARE DEFINED RADIO Kai Kuikkaniemi 52676k 2.4.2003 Basically SDR is a logical step in intelligent radio networks where the base stations provide different capacities and functionalities in different places and terminals can adapt to these network conditions intelligently without user intervention in order to maximize the wireless usability. At the same time different mobile network components (mainly terminals) could form ad-hoc new networks to satisfy some temporary communication needs. 5.7 Secondary markets [3] Secondary bandwidth markets is interesting new concept in order to business vice utilize the network capacity at its maximum. Basically it means that primary buyers purchase the operating licence for the frequency bandwidth, but in the secondary markets they could resell parts (that they don’t need or other parties can provide better value added) of the bandwidth to other players. Basically this would require some kind of network broker, which would manage the secondary markets and sell the frequency space-time of the primary operator to secondary operators. Good example where such secondary markets would be very beneficial would be for example irregular events, like Olympics, that have an exceptional need for all different bandwidths. During the time of Olympics the organisers would lease the needed network capacity in the secondary markets in order to have a wireless project management network in function. For these secondary markets there is need to have easily configurable terminals and other network components in order to maximize the usage of continuously changing network conditions (the same equipments could be then used in the other side of the world for some other event in completely different network conditions right after Olympics). Here SDR could again be a key technology. 6. Current situation In previous chapter I explained the business environment of SDR by using mostly future projections and possibilities as a starting point. In this chapter I go through the realism of current situation with the SDR. How it is used, what
  • T-109.551 Research Seminar on Telecommunications Business II SOFTWARE DEFINED RADIO Kai Kuikkaniemi 52676k 2.4.2003 are the problems it is facing and some parallel (basically complementing) development projects. 6.1 Case examples of implementation First I would like to introduce you few most relevant real world implementation case examples of SDR. This is no way a comprehensive list, but only few of the most promising cases. SPEAKEasy [13] SPEAKEasy is the US military development project of SDR, that started already in mid 90’s and is now already in second phase of implementation. The key vision in SPEAKEasy development was to build the “PC of the Communications World”. This basically means a fully programmable waveform and COMSEC for Voice, Multimedia and Networking Use. It is designed to be multiband system operating continuously in the bandwidth area from 2 to 400Mhz. It has both open modular hardware and software architecture, which has been a basis for first commercial installations also. It supports also legacy systems. Lessons learned from the first phase where that the open environment is very important in order to quickly respond to further development needs. The system uses exceptionally cutting edge technologies so apparently the first implementation was rather expensive. They found out, that in the beginning the system was “over-designed”. This refers most probably to, that it wasn’t enough flexible for all the time growing requirements needs. CRC demo [14] Communications Research Centre Canada (CRC) and Defence Research & Development Canada (DRDC) where the first ones to show a commercial demo of SDR radio environment. This was done in November 2002. Originally CRC had an idea to convert the SCA used in SPEAKEasy as to a commercial open source platform and demonstrate a simple voice call over it. In the demo they actually where able to do Digital Audio Broadcast (DAB), which satisfied many parties that where speculative about the how big are the difficulties
  • T-109.551 Research Seminar on Telecommunications Business II SOFTWARE DEFINED RADIO Kai Kuikkaniemi 52676k 2.4.2003 related to SDR platforms. This CRC demo can be regarded as a starting point for commercial SDR applications. Radical horizon [15] Radical horizon is the one of the first companies providing the commercial SDR solution. Their solution is called Flexcell and it is a multiband and multiprotocol architecture targeted for simultaneous 2G and 3G networks. As in SDR systems in general their benefits are low cost and easy configuration/adaptability. SDRCT (SDR Communications Technologies) [16] SDRCT has bit similar solution than Radical Horizon. Their focus is bit more on the SDR related operating system side. That is why they are targeting their solution also to developers in addition to operators. The name of the product is SpctruCell and it has more on security issues concerned derivative PC4 that is targeted to military customers. 6.2 Problems Hackers, disruption of current radio frequencies When SDR systems becomes widely available to small developer communities like previously introduced radio amateurs, there is a problem of them to accessing existing networks and disrupting licensed network traffic. There are some ideas how to prevent this from happening, like restrictions and limitations in the software, but so far there is no consensus or clear vision how this should be done. Basically if there would be open source SDR platform, operating systems and programming components available for example to 3G environment it would be more than easy for a individual coder/tech guy to build devices that could seriously damage the traffic in this frequency spectrum, hence generating denial of network service for other customers and in worst case also security leaks.
  • T-109.551 Research Seminar on Telecommunications Business II SOFTWARE DEFINED RADIO Kai Kuikkaniemi 52676k 2.4.2003 Regulatory point of view [3] Naturally the biggest question among regulators is how to avoid SDR disrupting current radio frequencies? Meaning how to control and monitor hackering and illegal activities. When in earlier chapter it was quickly explained how easy it would be to disrupt 3G networks, in addition concern for public bodies and operators rise when they now that they have no means what so ever to really monitor and identify this illegal activity. In general at least FCC states that they are “very interested in the area and look forward to its potential application”. Especially in the perspective of secondary markets the governing bodies see that SDR may become very beneficial. 6.3 Parallel development: GNU radio [17] GNU radio is basically an open source community working under GPL licence to build SDR like platform. Currently their focus seems to be in amateur radio and HDTV decoding side. In HDTV SDR could also provide interesting new application when a simple radio receivers connected to computer could be used to capture and demodulate the HDTV broadcasts. Open radio platform [18] Open radio platform is a France based initiative to develop SDR type environment and components for that support 3G. It is develop in cooperation with 3GPP. The initial focus areas of Open Radio Platform are educational and research oriented. But in long term they are looking forward to develop also commercial applications based on it. 7. Conclusion Software Defined Radio (SDR) is an idea of changing hard coded radio circuits in to software programmable ones. In a tomorrows complex networking environment such approach contains several benefits like the flexibility of introducing new standards, maximizing the bandwidth utilization
  • T-109.551 Research Seminar on Telecommunications Business II SOFTWARE DEFINED RADIO Kai Kuikkaniemi 52676k 2.4.2003 and opening the network development for bigger pool of vendors and developers. Openness is one key fundamental of SDR initiative, which basically means that more and more instances would have access to understand, utilize and further develop network technologies. SDR is not limited to any specific technology, but the solution areas vary from amateur radio and military application to a cellular networks and short- range wireless networks. SDR is an idea that can materialize in many different levels depending on which components used in the RF-circuits and modulation processors support software controlling. References 1. http://www.arrl.org/tis/info/sdr.html 2. http://www.smartmobs.com/archives/000339.html 3. Trends in the field of networks Software Defined Radio: A Regulator's Perspective Dale N. Hatfield Chief, Office on Engineering and Technology Federal Communications Commission At SDR Forum 19th General MeetingSeattle, Washington http://www.fcc.gov/oet/speeches/ sdrforumsph.html 4. http://ourworld.compuserve.com/homepages/jmitola/cognitiv.htm 5. http://searchnetworking.techtarget.com/sDefinition/0,,sid7_gci333184,0 0.html 6. http://www.sdrforum.org/tech_comm/definitions.html 7. http://ourworld.compuserve.com/homepages/jmitola/seven.htm 8. http://www.sdrforum.org/public/approved/03_a_0002_v0_00_rd_sum_0 1_30_03.pdf 9. Intel CTO Pat Gelsinger at Intel Developer Forum (IDF, 2/28/02, San Francisco) 10. http://www.sdrforum.org/mrkts_comm/value.html 11. http://ourworld.compuserve.com/homepages/jmitola/costbene.htm 12. http://www.sdrforum.org/mrkts_comm/adoption.html 13. http://www.its.bldrdoc.gov/meetings/art/art98/slides98/bons/bons_s.pdf
  • T-109.551 Research Seminar on Telecommunications Business II SOFTWARE DEFINED RADIO Kai Kuikkaniemi 52676k 2.4.2003 14. http://www.crc.ca/en/html/crc/home/mediadesk/sca_demo 15. www.radicalhorizon.com 16. www.sdrct.com 17. http://www.gnu.org/software/gnuradio/gnuradio.html 18. http://www.wireless3g4free.com/ Abbreviations 2G – Second generation mobile phone networks e.g. GSM 3G – Third generation mobile phone networks e.g. UMTS ADC – Analogue to Digital Converter ASCII – American Standard Code for Information Interchange COMSEC – COMmon wealth SECurity COTS – Commercial Of The Shelf DAC – Digital to Analogue Converter DSP – Digital Signal Processor FCC – Federal Communications Commission FPGA - Field Programmable Gate Arrays GNU – Recursive acronym Gnu is Not Unix HDTV – High Definition TV MEMS – Micro Electro-Mechanical Systems RF – Radio Frequency SDR – Software Defined Radio UWB – Ultra Wide Band WB – Wide Band