Software Defined Radio Laboratory

Module Number: E7I8045

Duration: 1 Semester

Occurence: Winter and Summer Semester

Language: English

Number of ECTS: 6


Professor in charge: Holger Boche

Amount of work

Contact hours: 60

Self-study hours: 120

Total: 180

Description of achievement and assessment methods

Two examination goals have to be fulfilled in the module: A laboratory achievement and an oral examination. The module grade is determined by the grade of the laboratory achievement (60%) and the grade of the examination (40%). For the laboratory achievement, students have to solve the preparatory tasks, carry out the experiments and write a protocol for each individual experiment. By preparing the protocol, which must be submitted by the next laboratory date, the students show that they are able to prepare a protocol according to good scientific practice. The protocol documents the objectives, the experimental procedure, and the results. The preparatory tasks must be solved in writing and handed in as part of the protocol. In the oral examination (30 to max. 50 min), the theoretical basics of the covered topics of wireless communications are examined, and the implementation details of the algorithms that were implemented in the experiments are questioned. The students should be able to name all important functional blocks of a radio transmission link and explain their purpose.

(Recommended) requirements

Communications Engineering 1, basic knowledge of the fundamentals of communications, experience with signals and systems, especially signal descriptions in the time and frequency domain


The goal of the lab is to teach the participants selected topics of communications engineering practically by using Software Defined Radios (SDRs). For this purpose, the basics of the visual programming language LabVIEW are taught, with which the SDRs can be programmed. In this lab, the essential functional blocks that are used in standard communication systems are implemented in LabVIEW and executed on SDRs. The course includes experiments on modulation, synchronization, channel coding, channel estimation, multi-antenna configurations (MIMO), and security. For each experiment, there are preparatory assignments that have to be solved. At the end of an experiment, the students prepare a protocol in which the results are documented.

Study goals

By the end of the course, the students will be familiar with the basics of the LabVIEW language and will be able to use the language features and function blocks that are related to wireless communications in their own programs. They are able to use LabVIEW to control the SDRs, understand foreign programs, and write their own signal processing algorithms and programs. Furthermore, the students are able to handle the SDR hardware and to establish a connection to the control computer. By working on the obligatory preparatory tasks, the students have understood the theoretical basics of the above mentioned methods of communications engineering (modulation, synchronization, channel coding, channel estimation, multi-antenna configurations (MIMO), and security) and can evaluate their advantages and disadvantages. After carrying out the experiments, they are also able to apply these methods to similar scenarios and to integrate them into their own programs.

Teaching and learning methods

Before each class, the students work on the preparatory assignments. After a short introduction to the topic of the current experiment by the lecturer, using the blackboard and electronic presentation methods, the preparatory assignments are discussed. Afterwards the students carry out the experiments. The lecturer will provide individual supervision. The students prepare a protocol to document the findings after the class.

Media formats

Preparation: reading material, written solution of preparatory assignments. Introductory part: presentation on the blackboard and using electronic slides. Practical part: Programming in LabVIEW, handling of RF hardware (software defined radios, antennas). Protocol: written


D. Tse und P. Viswanath, “Fundamentals of Wireless Communication”, Cambridge University Press Zusätzliches Lesematerial wird bei Bedarf auf Moodle bereitgestellt