A Practical Approach to Rapid Prototyping of SCA Waveforms

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Virginia Tech

With the growing interest in software defined radios (SDRs), cognitive radios, the Joint Tactical Radio System (JTRS), and the Software Communication Architecture (SCA) comes the need for a rapid prototyping approach to radio design. In the past, radios have traditionally been designed to have a static implementation with the express goal of implementing a specific type of communication, such as 802.11b, CDMA voice communication, or just a simple FM tuner. However, when designing an SDR, the developer must not only be able to understand the radio engineering aspects of the design, but also be able to interface correctly with the underlying core software framework. This added software complexity, along with the general need for faster, more economical waveform development, illuminates the need for a rapid prototyping SDR development environment.

This thesis takes a fresh look at the task of providing radio designers with a functional, straightforward design tool that enables the developer to focus more on the radio design than the tedious task of interacting with CORBA, IDL, and the SCA Core Framework. The design approach used to create such a tool is investigated along with an overview of general SDR concepts and an introduction to MPRG's open source SCA Core Framework, OSSIE. Discussion on the design methodology behind creating an SCA waveform is provided and the final result of this research, OSSIE Waveform Developer (OWD), is introduced and explored in detail. The code generated using OWD is detailed and waveform design approaches are presented with some suggested modifications. Finally, the improvements gained by using OSSIE Waveform Developer instead of the traditional approach of manually developing waveforms are presented.

Rapid Prototyping, SCA, Component Development, Waveform Development, Wireless, Software radio