Title page for ETD etd-06252012-112519

Type of Document Master's Thesis
Author Anyanwu, Uchenna Kevin
Author's Email Address uchevt@vt.edu
URN etd-06252012-112519
Title A Reconfigurable Random Access MAC Implementation for Software Defined Radio Platforms
Degree Master of Science
Department Electrical and Computer Engineering
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
MacKenzie, Allen B. Committee Chair
DaSilva, Luiz A. Committee Member
Dietrich, Carl B. Committee Member
  • Random Access MAC
  • Wireless Networks
  • Software Defined Radio
Date of Defense 2012-06-12
Availability unrestricted
Wireless communications technology ranging from satellite communications to sensor

networks has benefited from the development of flexible, SDR platforms. SDR is used for

military applications in radio devices to reconfigure waveforms, frequency, and modulation

schemes in both software and hardware to improve communication performance in

harsh environments. In the commercial sector, SDRs are present in cellular infrastructure,

where base stations can reconfigure operating parameters to meet specific cellular coverage

goals. In response to these enhancements, industry leaders in cellular (such as Lucent,

Nortel, and Motorola) have embraced the cost advantages of implementing SDRs in their

cellular technology. In the future, there will be a need for more capable SDR platforms on

inexpensive hardware that are able to balance work loads between several computational

processing elements while minimizing power cost to accomplish multiple goals.

This thesis will present the development of a random access MAC protocol for the IRIS

platform. An assessment of different SDR hardware and software platforms is conducted.

From this assessment, we present several SDR technology requirements for networking

research and discuss the impact of these requirements on future SDR platforms. As a

consequence of these requirements, we choose the USRP family of SDR hardware and the

IRIS software platform to develop our two random access MAC implementations: Aloha

with Explicit ACK and Aloha with Implicit ACK. A point-to-point link was tested with

our protocol and then this link was extended to a 3-hop (4 nodes) network. To improve

our protocols’ efficiency, we implemented carrier sensing on the FPGA of the USRP E100,

an embedded SDR hardware platform. We also present simulations using OMNeT++

software to accompany our experimental data, and moreover, show how our protocol

scales as more nodes are added to the network.

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