What is a Software Defined Radio?

2 Answers
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jacob - Technion

Mar 4, 2019

SDRs usually have a broad frequency range by default and can be programmed to operate at a specific frequency within that range.

Editorial Team - everything RF

Jan 3, 2019

A Software Defined Radio (SDR) is a radio that can be reconfigured and reprogrammed through a software (or firmware). Unlike traditional radios which are designed for specific frequency ranges and applications, a software defined radio can be programmed to operate at a required frequency. SDRs usually have a broad frequency range by default and can be programmed to operate at a specific frequency within that range.

So an SDR that has a frequency range from DC to 6 GHz can be used for Wi-Fi (2.4 GHz and 5 GHz), ISM Band Applications (400 MHz, 900 MHz, 2.5 GHz) and various other applications within the DC to 6 GHz frequency range.

Traditional radios are implemented using hardware like mixers, filters, amplifiers, modulators, demodulators etc. SDR's use an ADC and DAC to convert a signal from Analog to Digital and then from Digital to Analog without the need for the various hardware components.

The concept of software-defined radios has been around for some time, however, their application has been limited. With higher frequency and higher resolution ADCs and DACs available, these radios are starting to become more popular and we are seeing them being used more and more.