Software radio

In the fall of 1997, the Mobile Communications Laboratory (LCM) of EPFL’s Communication Systems Department began the development of a state-of-the-art third generation (3G) real-time mobile radio communications test bed. A primary goal behind this initiative is to test research results in the real environment. Another goal is to build a flexible tool for the classroom. The test bed is capable of 3G signaling schemes (i.e. 5 MHz bandwidth in the 2 GHz band, up to 1W transmit power) such as those proposed UMTS or IMT-2000. We are, however, by no means limited to the design choices of such systems.

We are committed to research areas such as:

  • adaptive antenna systems
  • joint detection/decoding of multi-user signals
  • dynamic resource allocation
  • synchronization and channel estimation algorithms
  • radio propagation
  • real-time DSP processing using Pentium MMX
  • joint source-channel coding

The test bed architecture is both flexible and scalable because of the relatively simple (yet state-of-the-art) hardware component. In order to demonstrate the flexibility of our architecture, we have recently implemented an 8 Mbit/s real-time wireless link between two standard PCs running under the LINUX operating system. This is made possible using the advanced DSP capabilities of Pentium MMX technology. This demonstration will evolve into the development of advanced mobile terminals using standard computing platforms. In 2002, we plan on extending our platform to handle multi-antennas.
The software-radio became part of the NCCR-MICS project in 2002 and as thus is funded by the Swiss government.


Almost in parallel to the LCM, the Mobile Communications Department of Institut Eurécom in Sophia Antipolis, France, launched a five-year project entitled Open Software Radio Platform. Both groups decided to pool their resources together because our goals were similar. STMicroelectronics is also involved in some parts of this collaboration, specifically in the development of radio frequency (RF) electronics. The LCM is funded in part by NOKIA


Within LCM, the folllowing people have contributed to the development of our software radio testbed.

  • Vivek Agarwal
  • Linus Gasser
  • Ramakrishna Gummadi
  • Thomas Höhne
  • Sherin Ibrahim
  • Tameen Khan
  • Raymond Knopp
  • Bixio Rimoldi
  • Jeyashankher S.R.
  • Kasturi Vasudevan
  • Brunner Stéphane

Contacting Us

For more information regarding this project, please contact Bixio Rimoldi.