NI to provide SDR technology for DARPA spectrum collaboration

National Instruments (NI), a platform-based systems provider, has collaborated with the US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), to supply core infrastructure for a path-breaking channel emulation test-bed, called Colosseum.

As part of the new collaboration, NI will provide USRP software defined radios (SDRs) that support different open source and proprietary tool flows including GNU Radio, RFNoC and LabVIEW system design software.

The Colosseum will be playing a crucial role in the DARPA Spectrum Collaboration Challenge, which is the first-of-its-kind collaborative machine-learning competition to overcome scarcity in the radio frequency (RF) spectrum.

The initiative is designed to ensure that the increasing number of military and civilian wireless devices will have full access to the increasingly crowded electromagnetic spectrum.

NI engineer and founder of Ettus Research Matt Ettus said: “The DARPA Spectrum Collaboration Challenge brings together the greatest minds in cognitive radio and machine learning.

“The Colosseum test-bed will allow those researchers to evaluate the performance of their designs to enable more reliable communications in many types of environments including the wireless conditions of a busy city neighborhood or in defence situations.”

The Colosseum channel emulation test-bed has been designed based on the USRP X310 software defined radio and NI ATCA-3671 high-performance FPGA processing system.

It has the ability to support nearly 256-by-256-channel, real-time channel emulation, calculating more than 65,000 channel interactions at up to 80 MHz of real-time bandwidth per channel.

The test-bed will be placed at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory in Laurel, Maryland, US, and will be accessible remotely for next-generation wireless research.

Image: National Instruments to provide SDR technology for the DARPA spectrum collaboration. Photo: courtesy of Business Wire.