The USRP X Series: A New Standard in SDR
By Matt Ettus | Wednesday, February 12, 2014
Earlier this month, Ettus Research announced its newest addition to the USRP software defined radio family – the release of the USRP ™ X300 and X310. So far, the community has expressed excitement about the product and its high-performance nature. We thought we would take opportunity to highlight features, discuss the new applications this series enables, and paint a picture of how it fits into the overall Ettus Research product portfolio.
New Features Extend the USRP to a New Level
A quick look into the history of products like the N-Series shows a lot of happy customers and cool applications like ionospheric RADAR, WiFi-based gesture recognition, and test beds for cognitive radio. We're excited to announce that the USRP X Series builds on the success of the USRP N200/N210. It extends the capability of the USRP product line with important new features:
- Dual 10 Gigabit Ethernet Interfaces–10 times faster than the 1 GigE interfaces of the USRP N200 and N210. This allows users to stream more bandwidth (up to 120 MHz per RF channel) for processing on a host PC or other architectures. Users can also drop back to 1 GigE for older PCs.
- PCI Express Interface – Increased bandwidth, like the 10 GigE interface, but with the added benefit of very low interface latency. Advancements in areas like PHY/MAC research are now capable with the X300 and X310
- Two daughterboard Slots – Now, users looking to build MIMO setups, or use multiple daughter boards tuned to different bands can do so very easily. Combining multiple units provides scalable systems with high channel-density.
- Kintex-7 – A large FPGA with a significant amount of free resource that can be used to implement custom DSP functions. Porting these functions to the FPGA will allow developers to achieve greater processing throughput in their system.
There are also other notable features like sleek 1U form factor, internal GPSDO, 1 GB of DDR3 for high-speed buffering, and more.
How Ettus and National Instruments are helping to solve a massive wireless challenge
Today, wireless engineers face a number of fascinating challenges - crowded spectrum, a wide array of new wireless standards (802.11ac, LTE-A, etc.), and pressure to prove out concepts on tighter budgets. Also, with the exponentially increasing demand for data, there is an expectation that wireless technology will evolve at a faster pace.
We have created the USRP X300 and USRP X310 to support advanced research, and allow engineers to pave the way for faster data services for a global civilization. The USRP X300/X310 was designed to meet the demands of research areas like next generation 5G wireless standard prototyping, multi-channel spectrum scanning and analysis, and even active radar prototyping and development.
Our Commitment to Low Cost, Accessible Platforms
While the USRP X300 and USRP X310 is a compelling platform for all forms of research and prototyping, we are still dedicated to serving our audience with lower cost options. Ettus Research continues to invest in the affordable Bus Series with devices like the USRP B200 ($675) and we have ambitious plans ahead for our Embedded Series. It's also worth noting, that the FPGA architectures and driver (UHD) implementations are common across all of our devices. This combination of consistent software architecture and a full spectrum of products make it very easy for our customers to move up and down the price/performance curve for our products.
The Future Ahead
We are very excited about the endless possibilities that our new products will enable our customers to accomplish. We hope that you check in regularly to see how we're making this happen.
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