The Institut national de la recherche scientifique (INRS) is a research-oriented branch of the Université du Québec. It conducts research in materials and telecommunications, amongst other fields. The center is dedicated to developing partnerships with industry and ranks first in Canada in terms of research intensity (funding per faculty member).

The INRS is actively conducting research in cognitive radio. A three-year effort, their project aims to develop spectrum sensing and access algorithms for next-generation wireless networks. It includes the development of cognitive radio theory and the invention of new cognitive radio algorithms. The team consists of a post-doctoral researcher, a lab engineer, and graduate students. The project is supported by Nutaq and the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) Collaborative Research and Development (CRD) program.

Professor Long Le’s laboratory – Researching next generation wireless networks using Nutaq’s PicoSDR

The project’s goal is to develop a fully functioning multi-user cognitive radio network where the cognitive protocol stack is implemented on the hardware platform. The INRS chose Nutaq’s PicoSDR platform due to its excellent performance and competitive price – other platforms could perform either very limited tasks at a low cost or perform complex tasks at much higher costs. The PicoSDR was an excellent choice in terms of both performance and cost-savings.

The PicoSDR is a multiple-input/multiple-output (MIMO) enabled SDR platform that ships with a complete QAM64 OFDM reference design. Available in 2×2, 4×4, or 2×2 plus embedded configurations, it supports a model-based design development environment along with GNU Radio. With an auto-calibrated, dynamic radio covering from 300 MHz to 3.8 GHz, the PicoSDR is the ideal development solution for the cognitive radio research. It includes a Virtex-6 FPGA, up to 64 GB of embedded storage and offers real-time PCIe and Gigabit Ethernet interfaces.

The PicoSDR will be used to prototype complex dynamic spectrum sensing and access algorithms. “The PicoSDR is excellent in terms of processing and storage performance. The provided software package is also very useful since it helps deploy and test the developed algorithms and protocols quickly,” says Professor Long Le.

Of particular importance to the INRS is its Model-Based Design Kit (MBDK).  Nutaq’s MBDK provides the ability to rapidly implement and test their algorithms which are designed to develop an IP for future technology transfer. The software also enables the INRS to implement the cognitive radio algorithms using user-friendly software like MATLAB, which in turns results in substantial time-savings.

Nutaq provides a wide range of wireless products and services that are ideal for research in SDR, cognitive radio, and wireless technologies. Nutaq prides itself in its great communication and relationship with research organizations and considers them important key partners in the research, design, and implementation of future wireless technologies.