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GNU Radio Sees Its First Release In More Than Six Years

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  • GNU Radio Sees Its First Release In More Than Six Years

    Phoronix: GNU Radio Sees Its First Release In More Than Six Years

    After being in development for more than six years, GNU Radio 3.8 is now available and is in fact considered a minor release update...

    http://www.phoronix.com/scan.php?pag...o-3.8-Released

  • #2
    Incredible work.

    Comment


    • #3
      "compatibility with both Python 3 and Python 3" - Small typo. :-)

      Comment


      • #4
        What can this be useful for? Are there any actual commercial uses for it? What kind of companies are involved? What's the supported hardware? Is it reliable for critical uses or just for experimental ones such as labs? Can I use it at maximal performance for complex signaling such as GSM/GPRS/UMTS/CDMA/etc and "WiFi' etc.?

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by timofonic View Post
          What can this be useful for? Are there any actual commercial uses for it? What kind of companies are involved? What's the supported hardware? Is it reliable for critical uses or just for experimental ones such as labs? Can I use it at maximal performance for complex signaling such as GSM/GPRS/UMTS/CDMA/etc and "WiFi' etc.?
          As far as I know, this is the most used SDR software. I do not know much in the field, but my understanding is that GNU Radio is a GUI software that allows you to quickly and easily manipulate the captured data, and apply software transforms on it.

          Extremely useful for reverse-engineering, engineering and debugging radio systems. I am not sure which hardware it supports specifically (though the price range is huge, starting from ~$25 IIRC), nor if it can do real-time processing (I think so, but that probably also depends on the hardware).

          This is a very partial answer, but best I can do without digging more. Please report your findings if you research more.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by AsciiWolf View Post
            "compatibility with both Python 3 and Python 3" - Small typo. :-)
            Repetition typo :-(

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by timofonic View Post
              What can this be useful for? Are there any actual commercial uses for it? What kind of companies are involved? What's the supported hardware? Is it reliable for critical uses or just for experimental ones such as labs? Can I use it at maximal performance for complex signaling such as GSM/GPRS/UMTS/CDMA/etc and "WiFi' etc.?
              First the obvious... "do a search and your questions will be answered". You could simply go to gnuradio.org and find out.
              What is GNU Radio and why do I want it?

              GNU Radio is a free & open-source software development toolkit that provides signal processing blocks to implement software radios. It can be used with readily-available low-cost external RF hardware to create software-defined radios, or without hardware in a simulation-like environment. It is widely used in hobbyist, academic and commercial environments to support both wireless communications research and real-world radio systems.
              I can tell you what I personally use it for: I route my HF transceiver audio through a dedicated sound card to wash the audio signal through band pass filters to cut down on most of the noise. A poor man's DSP filter. Normal computer hardware isn't efficient for this, but a sufficiently powerful desktop can manage it in real time or with negligible delay. GNU Radio does support various hardware DSP boards that would make this more efficient, but I can't afford one presently.

              It's also used with various SDR (software defined radios) to control, filter reception, transmit, etc. I'm unaware if it will handle actual digital signals, as those are normally handled by dedicated hardware on the radios - D-STAR, Fusion, DMR, P25, etc.

              If you just want to dabble with SDRs then the cheapest thing to do is to buy one of the cheap RealTek USB SDR dongles. There are some dedicated GNU Radio spin offs that are specifically designed for playing with those along with GNU Radio plugins if you want the whole package available.

              Edit to add: Keep in mind all regulatory rules here. For example, it's illegal to transmit RF signals in bands you're not licensed for. It's illegal to cause interference regardless of license status to lawful operators even in unlicensed bands. In the US it's also illegal to listen in, let alone transmit, on cell bands (federal wire tapping rules apply). There's various other rules and restrictions, and they vary by regulatory domain and geography eg: US, Canada, Mexico, EU, UK, etc.
              Last edited by stormcrow; 08-10-2019, 01:27 PM.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by timofonic View Post
                What can this be useful for? Are there any actual commercial uses for it? What kind of companies are involved? What's the supported hardware? Is it reliable for critical uses or just for experimental ones such as labs? Can I use it at maximal performance for complex signaling such as GSM/GPRS/UMTS/CDMA/etc and "WiFi' etc.?
                Since this is software defined radio, it can work on all hardware and even without hardware on simulated signal. With most radio hardware, you would use your soundcard. But these days, most people use it with things like rtl-sdr, airspy or hackrf-one. It can do complex signaling, DSD, and even encryption like P25 with the appropriate GNU Radio Companion blocks.

                Of course, actual use requires things like antenna, etc. You can listen to radio (FM, AM), short-wave, walkie-talkies, get images from weather satellites. For Wifi, you need something that goes in the GHz range, like the hackrf-one.

                It's super powerful, but a bit difficult to use. You have to know what you are doing, because, well, radio is hard. With GNU radio, you have to build the actual virtual circuits (modulators, demodulators and tuners). If you just want to dabble, something like SDRSharp on Windows is simpler to use. With GNURadio, you can also set-up transmission circuits, but then look up the local laws. There are no laws against receiving signals.

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                • #9
                  Hey, the guy who did that release / wrote the Tweet / wrote the release notes here,

                  when I said

                  It's the first minor release version since more than six years
                  I didn't mean

                  is in fact considered a minor release update
                  I was strictly referring to the version numbering, which is essentially Semantic Versioning 2.0 with a bit of a historically-induced GNU Radio-specific twist.

                  But yeah! The whole point of this was to GNU Radio easier to work with – and also, doing a lot of necessary janitorial tasks: Finally adopting C++11 (compatibility constraints on 3.7 didn't allow us to do that!), Qt4->Qt5, Py3, better CMake and a lot more incremental changes. Historically, and the git project 'perts amongst you might understand, after I became maintainer, we've switched from a mergeback model (where the stable release branch saw all of the bug fixes and was more or less regularly merged back into `master`) with an extra `next` development branch that became very detached from `master` to a model where new things are developed on `master`, full stop. That required merging of all there was in `next`, which was a lot of work, broke a lot of things, and made me extremely thankful towards the people doing the majority of that work – it wasn't me! GNU Radio has, imho, one of the most epic developer communities I know. Maybe the coolest among GNU projects? Who knows.

                  It feels like a really big thing! It really allows us to develop much more freely. Essentially, it gives us the freedom to tackle the "larger issues". GNU Radio as a framework should feel much more "batteries included (or easy to get)" than it does now. Its scheduling is cool, but by far not as cool as it could (and hence: should) be.

                  Hardware accelerator integration, smarter memory management, better serialization, better RPC, driver interfaces for more SDR hardware… all things to come in the next couple of versions.

                  Which, I might add, are definitely coming sooner than in six years from now

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Marcus Müller View Post
                    Hey, the guy who did that release / wrote the Tweet / wrote the release notes here,
                    Thanks for being a maintainer and taking the time to reply on here.

                    GNU Radio is one of those things I always wished I had time to dabble with.

                    Anyone still looking for more information should probably start here:

                    https://wiki.gnuradio.org/index.php/...s_GNU_Radio%3F

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