Author Topic: SDR platform up to 6 GHz - bladeRF 2 micro or Ettus USRP B200 or?  (Read 1131 times)

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Offline rfspezi

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I am looking for an SDR platform that can RX/TX up to 6 GHz with as much bandwidth and low spurious as possibe.
Primary use will be OFDM experiments.
So far i found the Ettus USRP B200 to be a good, but expencive candidate. (HackRF is not my favourit)
Does anybody own such a device from Ettus and can give feedback on his experience?
Or is there a completely different platform that i should consider?

Thanks! :)

« Last Edit: February 18, 2019, 01:13:43 pm by rfspezi »
 

Offline Andrey_irk

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Re: SDR platform up to 6 GHz - Ettus USRP B200 any experience/alternatives?
« Reply #1 on: February 18, 2019, 08:52:53 am »
I can recommend NI PXI platform with suitable modules and labview. Contact them. This kind of setup will cost an arm and a leg, but you've asked for the best performance, didn't you?  :)
 

Offline rfspezi

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Re: SDR platform up to 6 GHz - Ettus USRP B200 any experience/alternatives?
« Reply #2 on: February 18, 2019, 11:15:17 am »
Does anybody have experience with these two boards?
As far as i have seen they are less expencive as the Ettus B200 with similar performace.

*) BladeRF 2.0 micro
*) FreeSRP
 

Offline dkozel

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Re: SDR platform up to 6 GHz - bladeRF 2 micro or Ettus USRP B200 or?
« Reply #3 on: February 18, 2019, 02:11:56 pm »
Hi rfspezi,

I used to work for Ettus so I don't want to just recommend one or another, it depends on your application and long term plans. I strongly recommend looking at the software interfaces to each of the radios you're looking at and considering which has the level of support and features that you need. All three use the same Analog Devices frontend so the differences will be in the details of the circuits and the software. Do you want to synchronize with an external frequency reference, what about transmitting or receiving bursts, or time alignment to GPS or an external PPS?
 

Offline SpencerTC

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Re: SDR platform up to 6 GHz - bladeRF 2 micro or Ettus USRP B200 or?
« Reply #4 on: February 18, 2019, 02:21:03 pm »
Of the three you've mentioned, FreeSRP would NOT be the one I choose (not for the price asked), not having a community and, judging from one of the demo videos, has systematic noise in one band, I don't know where it would have come from without having one in hand and testing, but it could have been RF routing and/or isolation related or possibly a poor choice of some component used in the design.

The bladeRF has a fair following and would be the easiest to find someone else who might be trying to do (or has done) the same or similar things you are and/or could help you solve any issues you might run across. The bladeRF also has a few RF and DC test points, which although nowhere near as comprehensive as the test points on the hackRF, could still prove useful.

From what I can tell from my brief look at photos and video, the Ettus looks to have the best RF layout (in my opinion) and assuming the videos showing the incoming RF spectrum of the various SDR's (FreeSRP, bladeRF 2.0 micro xA9, Ettus USRP B200) I've talked about thus far are truthful (meaning no filtering, signal conditioning, or post-processing), then the Ettus has the cleanest noise floor.

A PXI, as Andrey_irk said, would be another great solution, although would be the most expensive option.

In the end the decision is yours, and in my eyes, from what has been said thus far, comes down to the bladeRF and the Ettus.

Good luck, I hope whichever option you choose works out well for you!

Best regards, 73
Trent Spencer - KM4YTU

EDIT: Forgot to include what I meant by "truthful" when regarding the spectrum of the radios, added to post.
« Last Edit: February 18, 2019, 02:27:09 pm by SpencerTC »
 

Offline radioactive

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Re: SDR platform up to 6 GHz - bladeRF 2 micro or Ettus USRP B200 or?
« Reply #5 on: February 18, 2019, 02:24:22 pm »
If cost if the primary concern,  you should take a look at the Pluto SDR.  It may be able to do what you need.   Here are some  OFDM experiments that you might find interesting.

https://github.com/tvelliott/charon
 

Offline OwO

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Re: SDR platform up to 6 GHz - bladeRF 2 micro or Ettus USRP B200 or?
« Reply #6 on: February 18, 2019, 02:41:44 pm »
The Ettus B200 uses the AD9364 transceiver which has no better RF performance than the AD9361 used in the Pluto (it is marked AD9363 but every single one sold so far can tune to 6GHz). However the PlutoSDR has a Zynq with on-board DDR3 memory which means you can do some real processing on the FPGA. Even a high end i7 with passmark of 7000 struggles to do realtime large FFTs (>16k) at >12MSPS so don't get your hopes high about what you can do with a high bandwidth SDR without FPGA processing. I would do some software experiments or experiment with cheap SDRs before dropping $1000+ on a expensive SDR and then finding out you can't actually use all that bandwidth.
つぁおにずぞんしばだい。
 

Offline hagster

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Re: SDR platform up to 6 GHz - bladeRF 2 micro or Ettus USRP B200 or?
« Reply #7 on: February 18, 2019, 07:14:03 pm »
I have used both the B200mini and BladeRF 2.0 micro. While I havent done a systematic comparison I would say they are fairly comparable performance wise.

The Ettus probably has better support and RFNoC.

The BladeRF has 2x2 MIMO and is cheaper. It also has plenty of sync options. But i get the impression that these are less well tested and documented than the Ettus products.
 

Offline rfspezi

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Re: SDR platform up to 6 GHz - bladeRF 2 micro or Ettus USRP B200 or?
« Reply #8 on: February 19, 2019, 12:40:03 pm »
Does anybody know if it is possible to run the bladeRF or USRP B200 as Wifi AP or client?
With the WARP platform it is possible, but what about bladeRF and USRP?
« Last Edit: February 19, 2019, 12:42:45 pm by rfspezi »
 

Offline OwO

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Re: SDR platform up to 6 GHz - bladeRF 2 micro or Ettus USRP B200 or?
« Reply #9 on: February 19, 2019, 12:59:18 pm »
Does anybody know if it is possible to run the bladeRF or USRP B200 as Wifi AP or client?
With the WARP platform it is possible, but what about bladeRF and USRP?

Short answer: no

The WARP physical layer does most of the processing on the FPGA and most likely requires DRAM (block ram on even the big Virtex FPGA isn't big enough). There's a reason the WARP hardware platform has a DIMM slot for DDR3 memory. I would say the closest you can get to this kind of hardware (without spending 10k+) is the PlutoSDR and the original LimeSDR. The newer LimeSDR mini also does not have DRAM. The FPGA in the PlutoSDR is not that big, but it should be enough to do some basic OFDM processing and the rest can be done in software.
つぁおにずぞんしばだい。
 

Offline rfspezi

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Re: SDR platform up to 6 GHz - bladeRF 2 micro or Ettus USRP B200 or?
« Reply #10 on: February 19, 2019, 02:06:00 pm »
ok, thanks... that shifts me a bit further away from investing in a SDR :)
 

Offline OwO

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Re: SDR platform up to 6 GHz - bladeRF 2 micro or Ettus USRP B200 or?
« Reply #11 on: February 19, 2019, 05:36:07 pm »
There was a implementation of 802.11g/n for GNU radio but when I tried it 10MHz bandwidth was the best it can manage without lots of underruns, but unfortunately that is not spec-conforming (802.11g and later OFDM based standards only supports 20/40 MHz).
つぁおにずぞんしばだい。
 

Offline rfspezi

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Re: SDR platform up to 6 GHz - bladeRF 2 micro or Ettus USRP B200 or?
« Reply #12 on: February 21, 2019, 12:28:21 pm »
I guess that applies to WLAN-client instead of AP aswell.
 


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