Doing WiFi With Software Defined Radio

Software-defined radio allows RF hardware to take on a wide range of tasks, all based on how that hardware is used in the code. The BladeRF 2.0 micro xA9 is one such device that contains a saturated FPGA with enough space for on-board signal processing circuits. As a demonstration of their abilities, [Robert Ghilduta] start writing a software-defined WiFi conversion for the platform.

The work is known as bladeRF-wiphy because it implements the PHY or physical layer of the WiFi connection in the 7-layer OSI network model. The modulation and demodulation of the WiFi signal are processed on board the Cyclone V FPGA, and the decoded 802.11 WiFI packets are transmitted to the Linux mac80211 module, which handles MAC layer or media access control. Thanks to the features included in mac80211, the system can act as an access point or as a separate station depending on the task.

[Robert] does a great job of explaining why and how WiFi modulation is applied to the FPGA, as well as some basics of modem development in both software and hardware. These are dense things, so for new ones in the field of software-defined radio, consider taking some classes to speed up!