A question many people may ask when discussing 5G network technology.
With the exponential growth in the ways and means by which people need to communicate data communications, voice communications, video communications, broadcast messaging, command and control communications, emergency response communications, etc. – modifying radio devices easily and cost-effectively has become business critical. Software-defined radio
(SDR) technology brings the flexibility, cost efficiency and power to drive communications forward, with wide-reaching benefits realized by service providers and product developers through to end users.
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Simply put Software Defined Radio is defined as
“Radio in which some or all of the physical layer functions are software defined”
A radio is any kind of device that wirelessly transmits or receives signals in the radio frequency
(RF) part of the electromagnetic spectrum to facilitate the transfer of information. In today’s world, radios exist in a multitude of items such as cell phones, computers, car door openers, vehicles, and televisions.
Traditional hardware-based radio devices limit cross-functionality and can only be modified through physical intervention. This results in higher production costs and minimal flexibility in supporting multiple waveform standards. By contrast, software-defined radio technology provides an efficient and comparatively inexpensive solution to this problem, allowing multimode, multi-band and/or multi-functional wireless devices that can be enhanced using software upgrades.
Most 5G cell site radios are SDR devices. These software devices provide the operator the ability to define multiple networks for performing different tasks, low latency network for real-time control, a plethora of connections for IoT devices, and wide bandwidth for big data applications. Virtual software-defined networks will also manage the data flow between devices. Antenna beams will also be formed by software. Think of a 5G mini-cell as specialized computers in a plastic pizza box connected to power and a network data source.
Here is one without the Pizza Box Cover and Antenna array: