Enhancing GNU Radio for Hardware Accelerated Radio Design


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Virginia Tech


As technology evolves and new methods for designing radios arise, it becomes necessary to continue the search for fast and flexible development environments. Some of these new technologies include software defined radio (SDR), Field Programmable Gate Arrays (FPGAs), and the open source project GNU Radio. Software defined radio is a concept that GNU Radio has harnessed to allow developers to quickly create flexible radio designs. In terms of hardware, the maturity of FPGAs give radio designers new opportunities to develop high-speed radios having high-throughput and low-latency, yet the conventional build-time for FPGAs is a limiting factor for productivity. Recent research has lead to reductions in build-time by using FPGAs in a non-traditional manner, meaning productivity no longer has to be sacrificed. The AgileHW project demonstrated this concept and will be used as a basis to develop an overlaying architecture that uses a combination of the technologies mentioned to create a flexible, open, and efficient environment for radio development. This thesis discusses the realization of this architecture with the use of Xilinx FPGAs as a hardware accelerator for an enhanced GNU Radio.



Virtex-5, Field programmable gate arrays, GNU Radio, SDR