A software radio combines a generic radio frequency (RF) front-end with a general-purpose processor to provide a powerful platform for wireless systems testing, measurement and experimentation. The proliferation of commodity RF front-end devices and the increasing capabilities of general-purpose processors have enabled a thriving software radio ecosystem with projects focusing on every imaginable wireless technology and application. Software Radio Systems (SRS) is an Irish SME which builds on over 15 years of software radio research and development. Through products such as AirScope, the 4G LTE air-interface analyzer and projects such as the open-source srsLTE software suite, SRS provides high-performance tools for analysis and implementation of 4G LTE broadband networks and applications.
Under SOPHIA, SRS has extended the MONROE hardware platform to support software radio applications and to create a powerful distributed measurement tool for mobile broadband networks. SOPHIA used the existing SRS software radio libraries and applications to demonstrate the benefits of software radio and to carry out experiments to perform detailed network measurements. The project further examined the capabilities and limitations of the MONROE node as a platform for software radio and provided comprehensive feedback to the MONROE consortium.
The project started with the selection of a number of hardware options for the SOPHIA extension. These were tested and trialed to identify the best possible candidates based on a set of specified design requirements. The SRS applications were then ported to the selected hardware and extensive tests were carried out to identify performance bottlenecks and areas for improvement. A key application for this project was AirScope, the SRS LTE air interface analyzer. AirScope supports detailed passive measurement and analysis of local LTE cells through detection and demodulation of over-the-air signaling. The use of AirScope on the MONROE-SOPHIA platform provides a powerful, distributed measurement tool for mobile broadband networks. To leverage and build upon this distributed measurement platform, a dedicated cloud-based web portal was developed. The MONROE-SOPHIA AirScope web portal provides a detailed graphical display of real-time measurement data from all active SOPHIA-enabled MONROE nodes. In this way, real-time mobile broadband network measurement data can be observed for all networks under analysis.
Throughout the project, progress and results were disseminated through presentations, publications, demonstrations and social media updates. Live demonstrations were carried out at key events including Mobile World Congress in 2017 and 2018, IEEE MNM 2017 and IEEE WCNC 2018.