Industry Canada

Industry Canada
Communications Research Centre Canada

Communications Research Centre Canada

November 20, 2007 09:00 ET

CRC Demonstrates World's Smallest Software Defined Radio

Tiny radio on Gumstix™ makes SCA applicable to new industries

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Nov. 20, 2007) - The Communications Research Centre Canada (CRC), an agency of Industry Canada, in partnership with DSO National Laboratories of Singapore, have demonstrated the world's smallest SDR radio compliant with the Software Communications Architecture (SCA) specification, for use in commercial and consumer applications.

Showcased earlier this month at the 2007 SDR Technical Conference and Product Exhibition in Denver, the radio is based on DSO's Gumstix™ micro-computer. The radio implements a complete analog FM transceiver, interoperable with Commercial-Off-The-Shelf (COTS) FM handheld radios such as those used by public safety organizations and the popular Family Radio Service (FRS). Central to the unit is the CRC's flagship product SCARI++, the most widely used SCA Core Framework implementing the Joint Tactical Radio System (JTRS) specifications. The SCA FM waveform runs on the XScale processor of the Gumstix, a 20 mm by 100 mm board.

"We have once again pushed the limits of innovation," says Veena Rawat, President of CRC. "By partnering with DSO Laboratories we have demonstrated the feasibility of using the SCA specification to develop tiny radios. We have long proven SCA's applicability to military radios, but with this project we are making the technology applicable to many more products within the vehicular, robotics, and consumer industries."

The Gumstix Audio Pack includes an Intel XScale processor, an audio card for A/D and D/A functions, and an Ethernet port. An external RF unit has been developed by CRC's engineers to provide wireless access in the 150 and 460 MHz bands. All the SCA devices to control the processor, the audio card, and RF unit have also been developed to make the Gumstix Audio Pack a real SCA-ready transceiver. Using the SCA Architect™ modeling tool, the team easily converted an FM waveform to the SCA specification to provide communications with commercial radios.

"DSO is happy to have partnered with CRC on this new technological innovation," said Boon-Chong Ng, Head of Advanced Communications Laboratory at DSO National Laboratories. "We have gained new experience and insight into the potential of the SCA to operate in the embedded sector."

No shortcuts were taken in the software implementation for this small device. The SCA Core Framework used on the Gumstix platform is the same one being used and deployed for the military and commercial markets.

"The design decisions made by our technical team, led by Mr. Steve Bernier, have always been made to maximize performance and portability of both our SCARI++ Core Framework and of the waveforms generated from SCA Architect," says Dr. Rawat. "This has allowed us to support the widest range of operating environments and to become the first COTS Core Frameworks to be deployed in a high capacity military radio."

The SCARI Software Suite is available for multiple operating systems (Linux, VxWorks™, Integrity™, YellowDog, LynxOS™, and soon DSP/Bios™), ORBs (ORBexpress™, TAO) and processors (x86, PowerPC, ARM, XScale) and has been integrated on multiple SCA-ready COTS platforms such as SDR-4000 from Spectrum Signal Processing, SFF-SCA-DP from Lyrtech, IDP-100 from ISR Technologies and SCA 2510 from Pentek.

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About the Communications Research Centre Canada (CRC)

CRC is the Canadian government's primary laboratory for research and development (R&D) in advanced wireless and photonics telecommunications. R&D is used for public policy purposes and to strengthen the Canadian economy through technology and knowledge transfer. An early adopter of the Software Communications Architecture (SCA), CRC has been involved in the evolution and adaptation of the specification. CRC also offers a number of products and services for the development of SDR technology. More information about CRC is available at:

Contact Information

  • Communications Research Centre Canada (CRC)
    Louise Guay
    Director, Communications