ETD system

Electronic theses and dissertations repository


Tesi etd-12202016-191009

Thesis type
Tesi di dottorato di ricerca
Settore scientifico disciplinare
Corso di studi
tutor Prof. Luise, Marco
tutor Manco, Andrea
Parole chiave
  • SDR
  • software defined radio
  • SCA
  • waveform
  • military
  • communications
  • software
Data inizio appello
Riassunto analitico
SDR, since its theoretical definition by J. Mitola, has been really appealing for the
military communications. The possibility to move forward from the legacy radio
devices, where all the functionalities were directly embedded in the hardware,
towards a new type of radio that allows reconfigurability and flexibility is seen as a
Deus ex machina in the complex and crowded panorama of tactical communications.
The possibility to execute different waveforms on the same platform can potentially
prolong the lifecycle of an operational radio for several years. The possibility to port
the same waveform to different hardware, on the other hand, has twofold implications:
it allows the re-use of the same waveform, maximizing the return on investment for
the developers and, in addition, it allows decoupling the radio manufacturer from the
software developer, potentially creating a new market for the waveforms development
and procurement. Similarly to what has been commonly experienced in the smartphone
market, where Apps are developed independently by the vendor of the terminal, in the
future, SDR waveforms might be developed by different subjects, even outside Industry
(e.g. universities and research centers) and then ported on an existing SDR platform.
The “SDR revolution” is anyway not feasible as long as common development rules
for waveforms and common interfaces between the waveform and the underlying hardwarewill be clearly defined. The most relevant contribution in this sense was the definition of the Software Communication Architecture (SCA), published and maintained
by the Joint Tactical Networking Centre (JTNC). The SCA defined a set of requirements
and rules both for the development of waveforms and for the software definition
of processing elements and functions within the host platforms, though leaving to implementers the possibility to choose between different hardware and software solution
for the implementation of a SCA-compliant SDR solution. SCA, rapidly became a de
facto standard in the military panorama, as it has been widely adopted for the major
military SDR programmes also in Europe, mainly in its version 2.2.2. SCA 2.2.2 was
designed to meet the stringent requirement of military communications, in terms of security,timing accuracy, real time behavior and it was not able to spread widely outside
this context for several years, mainly because of the overhead it imposes to the applications.
Today SCA, in its version 4.1, has been published in the US as an emerging
standard and its evolution is also supported by the Wireless Innovation Forum. One of
the goal of the SCA 4.1 is to define profiles that allows its implementation in devices
with limited processing resources, meeting the needs of small form factor devices in
the military context and projecting towards applications outside the military. Nevertheless,
some other emerging standards are facing the military SDR market, as possible
alternatives to SCA.
From the point of view of a procurement agency (like MoDs are in the context of
military communications),SDR offers significant benefits but, at the same time, it raises
new issues and challenges. First, the transition to the software implementation of some
functions of the radio platform, requires the development of new testing skills inside the
Defence panorama. Each service (i.e. Armed Force) in the Italian Defence, developed
during the years, its verification and validation (V&V) facilities, holding a proven experience
in the testing methodologies for military radios. The transition to SDR requires
that radio testing skills are enhanced with software verification and signal processing
skills, as many of the function of new radios are not only performed in software but
they also offer the possibility to perform inspection on their behavior. The military
procurement strategy for SDR is today closely linked to SCA-based architectures. For
these architectures new waveforms have been developed. The ability to test these waveforms,prior to their porting on the final hosting platforms, requires the verification of
the compliance of the software modules to the rules of the underlying software architecture
(SCA-based). This means that the verification strategy shall comprise the ability
to verify that the SCA implementation of a software component is properly performed,
assuring future compatibility of the component with the other elements of the waveform
and of the platform. After the aforementioned V&V steps, carried out usually during
the development of the SDR system or of one of its component (platform, waveform),
the complete system is usually delivered to the test facility to undergo a number of tests
analogous to that performed on the legacy systems: they span from testing the behavior
of the radio over the air, to environmental and electromagnetic compatibility (EMC)
testing, to interoperability testing with existing communication systems, where applicable.
These activities are usually performed through “live fire exercise”, how they are
called in military jargon: the system is deployed into an environment that tries to recreate
as much as possible the operational scenario and tested under realistic conditions,
by the operators that will employ it in real operations soon afterwards.
In response to these needs, the Italian MoD has identified the development of a governmental capability for SDR V&V as a strategic pillar and has consequently funded
the establishment of a dedicated laboratory (called LANCERS), based on a cooperation
between CSSN ITE, a research and experimentation center of the Italian Navy located
in Livorno and CNIT (Consorzio Interuniversitario per le Telecomunicazioni) where
experimentation and research on tools and technicques for SDR V&V are performed.
The laboratory has developed with the time also some collaboration with industries
involved in the SDR market.
This work summarizes the outcomes of the activities carried out in the LANCERS
laboratory, regarding methodologies, tools and experimentation oriented to V&V of
military SDR.
After providing a brief overview of the major programmes and stakeholders of the
military SDR panorama in chapter 1, an analysis of the domains of application of the
T&E strategies for SDR will be identified in Chapter2. Chapter 3 will provide an in depth
description of the tools and procedures developed at LANCERS lab for military
SDR test and evaluation. Different tools, addressing the needs of different phases of
SDR development, will be presented, together with the design process that brought to
their creation and some results of real applications of these tools. Chapter 4 will present
a field testing campaign performed as a necessary complement to the lab test activities
listed in chapter 3. Chapter 5 will draw the conclusions and present future work plans
for further improving the tools and procedures presented.
For some testing activities the presentation of the results will be limited, due to
the fact that the disclosure of information related to some particular SDR product is
at the moment of writing this thesis yet subject to restrictions. Provided results will be
anyway sufficient to provide the reader with a good understanding of the functionalities
and applicability of the presented tools and procedures.