University of Oulu CWC Spectrum Sensing With Nutaq's Radio420S
University of Oulu CWC Spectrum Sensing With Nutaq's Radio420S

The Centre for Wireless Communications (CWC) at the University of Oulu in Oulu, Finland focuses on the multi-level mastering of future wireless communications from a myriad of requirements to potential technological solutions

[1].  CWC recently selected Nutaq's Radio420S for use in white space research as the RF front-end to the popular Xilinx ML605 Virtex-6-based software-defined radio (SDR) research platform.

Radio420S was considered as an ideal solution as it fulfilled the requirements for an FPGA mezzanine card (FMC) which is  compatible with  ML605 Virtex-6 FPGA boards and scalable regarding bandwidths. To begin, CWC plans to integrate the Radio420S to work with a  real-time spectrum-sensing algorithm, a localization algorithm based on double-thresholding (LAD) with adjacent cluster combining (ACC). Next, the plan is to use the Radio420S as the platform for a cognitive radio solution which takes advantage of available  spectrum white spaces.

“The use of the Nutaq Radio420S radio card as a wireless transceiver on the software defined platform is very interesting because of the wide frequency range, on-the-fly possibility to change the bandwidth and other state-of-the-art features that it offers,” comments CWC’s Tuomo Hänninen. The combined processing power of the ML605's Virtex-6 FPGA with the agile and broadband RF front-end of the Radio420S results in an ideal SDR platform for use in the development and real-world testing of wireless communication algorithms.

The performance specifications of the Radio420X were the key to CWC's decision:

  • Wide tunable frequency range: 300 MHz to 3 GHz
  • On-the-fly selectable bandwidth: 1.5 to 28 MHz
  • Baseband configurable low-pass filter: 0.75 to 14 MHz

In addition, Nutaq's Radio420S FMC BSP reference design for ML605 was also a critical factor; the reference design includes IP cores and C source code which helps in accelerating the development process. Developers can use the reference design as a starting point in their own applications, as it provides them with efficient access to the radio's features and capabilities from day one.

Combined together, the programmable hardware and software enables fast reconfiguration of the transceiver and will enable CWC to easily and rapidly prototype and develop new wireless algorithms.