Home > Store

Software Radio: A Modern Approach to Radio Engineering

Register your product to gain access to bonus material or receive a coupon.

Software Radio: A Modern Approach to Radio Engineering


  • Sorry, this book is no longer in print.
Not for Sale



  • NEW - The first comprehensive guide to all aspects of engineering software-based radios.
    • Fills a major gap in the literature by bringing together complete and up-to-date information on software radio engineering, and by helping students understand the crucial interactions between analog and digital subsystems.

  • Introductory coverage of RF engineering—Includes coverage of RF front-ends and digital processing techniques for overcoming problems in RF design.
    • Helps students get up to speed if they have a background in either digital signal processing or RF engineering, but not both.

  • Advanced SDR Forum case studies—Presents new case studies drawn from leading-edge work by the Software Defined Radio Forum, the leading consortium of companies, universities, and research organizations promoting software radio development.
    • Gives students an understanding of the state-of-the-art in software radio development.

  • Object-oriented software radio programming—Presents a systematic, object-oriented approach to creating flexible programs for software radios, including coverage of Java and the Common Object Request Broker Architecture (CORBA).
    • Shows students how to build robust, reliable, high-performance programs for software radios.

  • Practical guidance on key tradeoffs—Illuminates key engineering tradeoffs among resolution, sample rate, and dynamic range.
    • Gives students deep insight into the real-world challenges of software radio design.

  • Guidance on choosing the right underlying platform—Presents the pros, cons, and tradeoffs associated with utilizing DSP microprocessors, FPGAs, and ASICs.
    • Helps students make one of the most important up-front decisions in software radio engineering.

  • Techniques for maximizing software radio performance—Includes in-depth coverage of smart antennas and other adaptive array algorithms.
    • Introduces students to today's best techniques for building high-performance software radio systems.

  • Multirate digital signal processing—Presents in-depth coverage of multirate signal processing, a technique that is central to both channelization and synchronization in software radio systems.
    • Helps students understand the crucial role of multirate DSP in software radio design, and leverage multirate DSP to the fullest.


  • Copyright 2002
  • Dimensions: 7" x 9-1/8"
  • Pages: 592
  • Edition: 1st
  • Book
  • ISBN-10: 0-13-081158-0
  • ISBN-13: 978-0-13-081158-5

The definitive engineer's guide to designing and building software-based radios.

  • The first systematic guide to software radio design and implementation
  • Multirate DSP, RF front-ends, direct digital synthesis of modulated waveforms, A/D and D/A conversion, and more
  • Enhancing performance through smart antennas and other adaptive array algorithms
  • Techniques for building more flexible, extensible software

Radios, once implemented purely in hardware, are increasingly built using programmable digital signal processing (DSP) devices that enhance device flexibility, simplify manufacture, and reduce costs. However, many engineers are unfamiliar with the latest techniques for building software radios for wireless systems and devices. This book fills the gap, introduces the key concepts of software radio design, and covers every issue and technique engineers must understand to successfully utilize DSP in their radio systems and subsystems. Coverage includes:

  • Central role of multirate DSP in software radio design
  • Constructing RF front-ends: utilizing digital processing to overcome key problems in RF design
  • Direct digital synthesis of modulated waveforms
  • A/D and D/A converters and conversion processes: key tradeoffs among resolution, sample rate, and dynamic range
  • Enhancing performance through smart antennas and other adaptive array algorithms
  • Practical techniques for choosing among DSP microprocessors, FPGAs, and ASICs
  • A systematic, object-oriented approach to creating flexible software

The book concludes with case studies drawn from the advanced work of the SDR Forum, the leading consortium of companies, universities, and research organizations promoting software radio development.

Communications Engineering & Emerging Technologies Series
Theodore S. Rappaport, Series Editor

Sample Content

Online Sample Chapter

Introduction to Software Radio Concepts

Table of Contents



 1. Introduction to Software Radio Concepts.

The Need for Software Radios. What Is a Software Radio? Characteristics and Benefits of a Software Radio. Design Principles of a Software Radio. Questions.

 2. Radio Frequency Implementation Issues.

The Purpose of the RF Front-End. Dynamic Range: The Principal Challenge of Receiver Design. RF Receiver Front-End Topologies. Enhanced Flexibility of the RF Chain with Software Radios. Importance of the Components to Overall Performance. Transmitter Architectures and Their Issues. Noise and Distortion in the RF Chain. ADC and DAC Distortion.

 3. Multirate Signal Processing.

Introduction. Sample Rate Conversion Principles. Polyshase Filters. Digital Filter Banks. Timing Recovery in Digital Receivers Using Multirate Digital Filters.

 4. Digital Generation of Signals.

Introduction. Comparison of Direct Digital Synthesis with Analog Signal Synthesis. Approaches to Direct Digital Synthesis. Analysis of Spurious Signals. Spurious Components due to Periodic Jitter. Bandpass Signal Generation. Performance of Direct Digital Synthesis Systems. Hybrid DDS-PLL Systems. Applications of direct Digital Synthesis. Generation of Random Sequences. ROM Compression Techniques.

 5. Analog to Digital and Digital to Analog Conversion.

 6. Smart Antennas.

 7. Digital Hardware Choices.

 8. Object-Oriented Representation of Radios and Network Resources.

 9. Case Studies In Software Radio Design.

Appendix A. Rf Engineering Books And Trade Publications.

Appendix B. The Coordinate Rotation Digital Computer Algorithm.


Glossary of Acronyms.

About the Author.

About the Chapter Co-Authors.




Software radios represent a major change in the design paradigm for radios inwhich a large portion of the functionality is implemented throughprogrammable signal processing devices, giving the radio the ability tochange its operating parameters to accommodate new features andcapabilities. A software radio approach reduces the content of radiofrequency (RF) and other analog components of traditional radios andemphasizes digital signal processing to enhance overall receiverflexibility.

This change in the design paradigm for new radios has occurred so rapidlythat it has left a significant void in the educational material availableto train new radio engineers. Traditional radio engineering textbooksemphasize analog component-level design with little mention of theincreasingly important role of digital signal processing in performingthe central functions of the radio transceiver. Individual referencescovering the key analog and digital subsystems tend to be insufficientin that they fail to provide a full understanding of the interaction betweenthese subsystems.

I became acutely aware of this void when conducting research into thedevelopment of novel high-performance radios for the Defense AdvancedResearch Projects Agency (DARPA). While constructing radioprototypes, I found there was no comprehensive resource to which Icould point my students for information on how to build DSP-basedradios. This experience, combined with similar frustrations voiced bymy colleagues from both academia and industry, has led me to write thisbook on modern radio design principles. My goal in developing thisbook was to provide this necessary understanding of the interaction ofkey subsystems.

Software radios are emerging in commercial and military infrastructure.This growth is motivated by the numerous advantages of software radios.

  1. Ease of design—Traditional radio design requires years of experience and great care on the part of the designer to understand how the various system components work in conjunction with one another. The time required to develop a marketable product is a key consideration in modern engineering design, and software radio implementations reduce the design cycles for new products, freeing the engineer from much of the iteration associated with analog hardware design. It is possible to design many different radio products using a common RF front-end with the desired frequency and bandwidth in conjunction with different signal processing software.
  2. Ease of manufacture—No two analog components have precisely identical performance, necessitating rigorous quality control and testing of radios during the manufacturing process. However, given the same input, two digital processors running the same software will produce identical outputs. Thus, the move to digital hardware reduces the costs associated with manufacturing and testing the radios.
  3. Multimode operation—The explosive growth of wireless has led to a proliferation of transmission standards, and in many cases, it is desirable that a radio operates according to more than one standard. For example, wireless carriers throughout the U.S. are deploying systems that make use of the GSM (Global System for Mobile Communications) standard in some markets and the IS-95 Code Division Multiple Access (CDMA) standard in other markets. Furthermore, the advent of third-generation wireless has introduced a number of standards within that framework. Traditionally, multimode operation has required multiple complete sets of hardware, increasing the size and cost of the radio. However, a software radio can change modes by simply loading appropriate software into the memory.
  4. Use of advanced signal processing techniques—The availability of high speed signal processing on board the radio allows implementation of new receiver structures and signal processing techniques. Techniques such as adaptive antennas, interference rejection, and strong encryption, previously deemed too complex, are now finding their way into commercial systems as the performance of digital signal processors continues to increase. The impact will be enhanced range and quality of service to the consumer while reducing overall infrastructure cost for the service provider.
  5. Fewer discrete components—A single high-speed digital processor may be able to implement many traditional radio functions such as synchronization, demodulation, error detection, and decryption of data, reducing the number of required components and decreasing the size and cost of a radio.
  6. Flexibility to incorporate additional functionality—Software radios may be modified in the field to correct unforeseen problems or upgrade the radio. For example, it may even be possible to transmit software upgrades to the radio, such as a new vocoder to handsets, to improve overall system performance. Another important improved functionality is the capability of self-diagnosis of the radio and network operations, which means improved reliability with less human intervention.

Given these clear advantages and the increasing processing power availablein commercial digital signal processing devices, I anticipate thatradio engineers that software radios will become the standard approachfor radio design.

The challenge in creating the software radio is the broad scope of knowledgenecessary, including digital signal processing algorithms, RF circuits, software methodologies,and digital circuits. The approach in this text is to provide anunderstanding of key areas in radio design for the digital signalprocessing engineer. Forexample, a digital signal processing engineer must know the ramifications of the choices in RFparameters and the resulting limitations to be able to understand the appropriatesubsequent signal processing to account for these limitations. This bookreviews critical and interdependent radio subsystems from the perspectiveof the DSP engineer.

Chapter 1 provides a basic introduction to software radioconcepts, discusses the benefits of software radios, and sets thestage for discussing software radio design.

Digital signal processing engineers tendto know very little about RF engineering and, likewise, RF engineerstend to know very little about digital signal processing. However, to take fulladvantage of the software radio approach, these subsystems cannot be treatedseparately. Chapter 2 provides the digital signal processing engineerwith fundamentals in constructing RF front-ends and describesprocessing that can be performed in the digital domain to overcomeproblem areas in RF design.

Multirate digital signal processing usesdifferent sample rates, and this is the topic of Chapter3. This approach to signal processing is particularlyimportant in software radios where bandwidths and sample rates are highinitially and must be reduced for efficient subsequent processing.Multirate digital signal processing is commonly used to channelize theoperating band into distinct communication channels. Multiratedigital signal processing is also the foundation for modernsynchronization techniques.

Much of the flexibility of asoftware radio comes from being able to create arbitrary modulation typesdirectly within the digital domain. In many cases, the direct digitalsynthesis methods used to generate these signals are more than justdigitized realizations of analog techniques and afford the designer greaterfreedom in design signal waveforms. Chapter 4 surveys the topic ofdirect digital synthesis of modulated waveforms.

Analog to digital converters and digital to analogconverters, along with the power amplifier, are themost critical components in software radio design. The demands on thesecomponents can be very high. A rigorous understanding of the conversionprocess and the trade-offs between the resolution, sample rate, and dynamicrange of the resulting system are the focus of Chapter 5.

An important benefit of software radios is the ability to incorporatesophisticated algorithms, such as smart antennas, into the radio toenhance performance. Chapter 6 reviews the wide variety ofadaptive array algorithms and hardware implementation issues.

Thebasics of digital signal processing microprocessors, Field ProgrammableGate Arrays (FPGAs), andApplication Specific Integrated Circuits (ASICs) and how one would chooseone these alternatives for constructing a software radio are discussedin Chapter 7.

A systematic design approach tocreating software is essential to enable expandability of the radiocapability. Furthermore, as new applications are created to run over thesoftware radio, the radio itself must become transparent to the newapplications. Chapter 8 examines object-oriented programmingapproaches, including JAVA and Common Object Request Broker Architecture (CORBA) forcreating software radios.

Chapter 9 examines some examplesof software radios that have been built. The Software-DefinedRadio (SDR) Forum, a consortium of companies, universities, and researchorganizations, has defined guidelines and standards for the creationof software radios. A description of this standardized software radiois provided in this chapter.

If this book is being used for a course, there is much flexibility inselecting chapters to create a customized course. For the onesemester class, I recommend covering Chapters 1-3, Sections 4.1-4.8, 5.1-5.4, 6.1-6.6, 7.1-7.3, and Chapters 8-9.For a class on the quarter system, I recommend Chapters 1, 2, and 5, Sections 6.1-6.5, Chapter 8, and Sections 9.1-9.3. Although there is muchlatitude in mixing and matching sections to customize the course tothe instructor's objectives, I do recommend that Chapters 8and 9 be covered together as a single unit. Students who havean electrical engineering background in basic circuit analysis(typically junior-level), computer architecture (junior- orsenior-level), and communications (senior-level) have a sufficientbackground for all chapters in this book.

URLs included in the text and in citations were correct when the bookwas written. However, due to the dynamic nature of the World WideWeb, URLs may no longer be active. Periodic updates, information forinstructors, and errata to the book can be found athttp://www.softradios.com/book.html.Additional information about software radios can be found athttp://www.mprg.org/publications/pubs.shtml#Book


Submit Errata

More Information

InformIT Promotional Mailings & Special Offers

I would like to receive exclusive offers and hear about products from InformIT and its family of brands. I can unsubscribe at any time.


Pearson Education, Inc., 221 River Street, Hoboken, New Jersey 07030, (Pearson) presents this site to provide information about products and services that can be purchased through this site.

This privacy notice provides an overview of our commitment to privacy and describes how we collect, protect, use and share personal information collected through this site. Please note that other Pearson websites and online products and services have their own separate privacy policies.

Collection and Use of Information

To conduct business and deliver products and services, Pearson collects and uses personal information in several ways in connection with this site, including:

Questions and Inquiries

For inquiries and questions, we collect the inquiry or question, together with name, contact details (email address, phone number and mailing address) and any other additional information voluntarily submitted to us through a Contact Us form or an email. We use this information to address the inquiry and respond to the question.

Online Store

For orders and purchases placed through our online store on this site, we collect order details, name, institution name and address (if applicable), email address, phone number, shipping and billing addresses, credit/debit card information, shipping options and any instructions. We use this information to complete transactions, fulfill orders, communicate with individuals placing orders or visiting the online store, and for related purposes.


Pearson may offer opportunities to provide feedback or participate in surveys, including surveys evaluating Pearson products, services or sites. Participation is voluntary. Pearson collects information requested in the survey questions and uses the information to evaluate, support, maintain and improve products, services or sites, develop new products and services, conduct educational research and for other purposes specified in the survey.

Contests and Drawings

Occasionally, we may sponsor a contest or drawing. Participation is optional. Pearson collects name, contact information and other information specified on the entry form for the contest or drawing to conduct the contest or drawing. Pearson may collect additional personal information from the winners of a contest or drawing in order to award the prize and for tax reporting purposes, as required by law.


If you have elected to receive email newsletters or promotional mailings and special offers but want to unsubscribe, simply email information@informit.com.

Service Announcements

On rare occasions it is necessary to send out a strictly service related announcement. For instance, if our service is temporarily suspended for maintenance we might send users an email. Generally, users may not opt-out of these communications, though they can deactivate their account information. However, these communications are not promotional in nature.

Customer Service

We communicate with users on a regular basis to provide requested services and in regard to issues relating to their account we reply via email or phone in accordance with the users' wishes when a user submits their information through our Contact Us form.

Other Collection and Use of Information

Application and System Logs

Pearson automatically collects log data to help ensure the delivery, availability and security of this site. Log data may include technical information about how a user or visitor connected to this site, such as browser type, type of computer/device, operating system, internet service provider and IP address. We use this information for support purposes and to monitor the health of the site, identify problems, improve service, detect unauthorized access and fraudulent activity, prevent and respond to security incidents and appropriately scale computing resources.

Web Analytics

Pearson may use third party web trend analytical services, including Google Analytics, to collect visitor information, such as IP addresses, browser types, referring pages, pages visited and time spent on a particular site. While these analytical services collect and report information on an anonymous basis, they may use cookies to gather web trend information. The information gathered may enable Pearson (but not the third party web trend services) to link information with application and system log data. Pearson uses this information for system administration and to identify problems, improve service, detect unauthorized access and fraudulent activity, prevent and respond to security incidents, appropriately scale computing resources and otherwise support and deliver this site and its services.

Cookies and Related Technologies

This site uses cookies and similar technologies to personalize content, measure traffic patterns, control security, track use and access of information on this site, and provide interest-based messages and advertising. Users can manage and block the use of cookies through their browser. Disabling or blocking certain cookies may limit the functionality of this site.

Do Not Track

This site currently does not respond to Do Not Track signals.


Pearson uses appropriate physical, administrative and technical security measures to protect personal information from unauthorized access, use and disclosure.


This site is not directed to children under the age of 13.


Pearson may send or direct marketing communications to users, provided that

  • Pearson will not use personal information collected or processed as a K-12 school service provider for the purpose of directed or targeted advertising.
  • Such marketing is consistent with applicable law and Pearson's legal obligations.
  • Pearson will not knowingly direct or send marketing communications to an individual who has expressed a preference not to receive marketing.
  • Where required by applicable law, express or implied consent to marketing exists and has not been withdrawn.

Pearson may provide personal information to a third party service provider on a restricted basis to provide marketing solely on behalf of Pearson or an affiliate or customer for whom Pearson is a service provider. Marketing preferences may be changed at any time.

Correcting/Updating Personal Information

If a user's personally identifiable information changes (such as your postal address or email address), we provide a way to correct or update that user's personal data provided to us. This can be done on the Account page. If a user no longer desires our service and desires to delete his or her account, please contact us at customer-service@informit.com and we will process the deletion of a user's account.


Users can always make an informed choice as to whether they should proceed with certain services offered by InformIT. If you choose to remove yourself from our mailing list(s) simply visit the following page and uncheck any communication you no longer want to receive: www.informit.com/u.aspx.

Sale of Personal Information

Pearson does not rent or sell personal information in exchange for any payment of money.

While Pearson does not sell personal information, as defined in Nevada law, Nevada residents may email a request for no sale of their personal information to NevadaDesignatedRequest@pearson.com.

Supplemental Privacy Statement for California Residents

California residents should read our Supplemental privacy statement for California residents in conjunction with this Privacy Notice. The Supplemental privacy statement for California residents explains Pearson's commitment to comply with California law and applies to personal information of California residents collected in connection with this site and the Services.

Sharing and Disclosure

Pearson may disclose personal information, as follows:

  • As required by law.
  • With the consent of the individual (or their parent, if the individual is a minor)
  • In response to a subpoena, court order or legal process, to the extent permitted or required by law
  • To protect the security and safety of individuals, data, assets and systems, consistent with applicable law
  • In connection the sale, joint venture or other transfer of some or all of its company or assets, subject to the provisions of this Privacy Notice
  • To investigate or address actual or suspected fraud or other illegal activities
  • To exercise its legal rights, including enforcement of the Terms of Use for this site or another contract
  • To affiliated Pearson companies and other companies and organizations who perform work for Pearson and are obligated to protect the privacy of personal information consistent with this Privacy Notice
  • To a school, organization, company or government agency, where Pearson collects or processes the personal information in a school setting or on behalf of such organization, company or government agency.


This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that we are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of each and every web site that collects Personal Information. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this web site.

Requests and Contact

Please contact us about this Privacy Notice or if you have any requests or questions relating to the privacy of your personal information.

Changes to this Privacy Notice

We may revise this Privacy Notice through an updated posting. We will identify the effective date of the revision in the posting. Often, updates are made to provide greater clarity or to comply with changes in regulatory requirements. If the updates involve material changes to the collection, protection, use or disclosure of Personal Information, Pearson will provide notice of the change through a conspicuous notice on this site or other appropriate way. Continued use of the site after the effective date of a posted revision evidences acceptance. Please contact us if you have questions or concerns about the Privacy Notice or any objection to any revisions.

Last Update: November 17, 2020