According to Statista, there is a projected 30 billion Internet of Things (IoT) devices to be connected by 2020. That would be over a 400% increase in connected IoT devices from 2014. Most of these IoT devices will need to be connected through at least one type of wireless radio frequency (RF) communication.
The Internet of Things (IoT) is a broad term which encompasses the multitude to wirelessly connected devices that surround us. It applies not only to smartphones and tablets, but to millions of machines, devices, and new twists on traditional products which were previously not connected to the internet. But what makes it all possible? How do these devices connect to the internet and communicate with each other?
Software Defined Radios (SDRs) are constantly evolving. It seems like "the latest and greatest" SDRs are always popping up somewhere with today's rapidly growing technology. We thought it'd be helpful to provide you with some of the most popular and top rated SDRs in today's market.
We tried to include a wide variation of prices, applications, frequencies, and ease of use on the following list. This way, it'll be more likely that you'll find the best Software Defined Radio for your needs in the following list.
Without further ado, here are 12 great Software Defined Radios for you!
*Descriptions taken from product pages
**Disclosure: This post that contains affiliate links.
- What a great place to start! This RTL-SDR is cheap and great for beginners or those on a budget.
- Applications include general radio scanning, air traffic control, public safety radio, ADSB, AIS, ACARS, trunked radio, P25 digital voice, POCSAG, weather balloons, APRS, NOAA APT weather satellites, radio astronomy, meteor scatter monitorin, and more
- Frequency: 500 kHz to 1.7 GHz and has up to 3.2 MHz of instantaneous bandwidth
2. Red Pitaya
- Included: NooElec USB dongle, antenna, remote control
- RTL2832U interface IC & R820T tuner IC on USB dongle
- Full compatibility with a large array of software packages
- DRU-244A-1-1-PCI SDR hardware digitizer
- 1 ADC chip with 1 analog input
- 1 DDC chip with 4 radio channels
5. HackRF One
- Operating Frequency: 1 MHz to 6 GHz
- Matching male SMA ANT500 antenna & USB cable included
- Compatible with GNU Radio, SDR#, and more
- 6U Compact-PCI form factor hardware development platform that can be used for a variety of applications, such as Software Defined Radio.
- Optimized to provide high performance signal conversion using high speed ADC’s and DAC’s.
- Other applications: WiMAX, Satellite MODEM's, RFID, Wireless Communication Systems
- 2.4 GHz Transmit and Receive.
- Suitable for Bluetooth experimentation
- Can also operate in monitor mode, monitoring Bluetooth traffic in real-time.
- Frequency: 100KHz-1.7GHz
- Built-in 100Mhz upconverter combined with Built-in HD R820T allow better receiving of short wave than using direct SDR’s Q tunnel
- Easy to set-up, just connect it and you’re ready to go!
- Alternative to both cost sensitive and higher end scanners while featuring the "best radio browsing experience of the market" thanks to the tight integration with the de facto standard SDR# software.
- External GPS or Rubidium clocks supported for professional use
- Full HF Coverage
- Flexible and affordable transceiver that turns a standard PC into a powerful wireless prototyping system.
- Supports multirate DSP for physical layer communications and helps you integrate .m file scripts and C language algorithms.
- Large frequency range of 100 kHz up to 27 GHz and wide instantaneous bandwidth of up to 100 MHz.
- Supports 160 MHz instantaneous bandwidth
- SDR covers the 10 kHz to 30 MHz (VLF-HF) spectrum.
- Demodulation modes: AM, AMN, LSB, USB, CW, CWN, NBFM.
- RF antenna connector: SMA and terminal block.
- GPS receives the Navstar system on L1 frequency 1575.42 MHz.
Are You Experiencing Phase Noise in your Applications?
Full Disclosure: Some of the links above are affiliate links, meaning, at no additional cost to you, we will earn a small commission in you click through and make a purchase.
In case you haven’t heard, Passive WiFi is an amazing innovation poised to revolutionize wireless communications, beginning with the internet of things (IoT) or industrial internet. It promises a future of WiFi communication that is 10,000 times more energy efficient.
Inside Frequency Control was able to get a back-stage pass to this exciting technology when we had a chat with one of the co-inventors, Shyam Gollakota. Check out the interview where we learned more about Passive Wi-Fi (you can read their research paper here) AND the process the researchers used to bring this innovation to life.