Addressing next-generation wireless challenges with commercial software-defined radio platforms
Existing commercial wireless systems are mostly hardware-based, and rely on closed and inflexible designs and architectures. Moreover, despite recent significant algorithmic developments in cross-layer network adaptation and resource allocation, existing network architectures are unable to incorporate most of these advancements. While software-defined radio (SDR) was envisioned as a new paradigm promising radical runtime adaptation through all layers of the networking protocol stack, the reality of the state-of-the-art in wireless networking practice is far from having fulfilled such promise of fast and intelligent reconfigurability and adaptability. Networking research based on the “software-defined radio” paradigm has suffered almost invariably from the lack of adequate and coherently designed abstractions to (i) define networking protocols and their cross-layer interactions across all layers of the protocol stack; (ii) define decision-making algorithms to control such interactions. To address this need, we introduce RcUBe (Real-time Re-configurable Radio), a novel architectural radio framework based on abstractions that offer real-time reconfigurability and optimization capabilities at the PHY, MAC, and network layers of the protocol stack. Unlike state-of-the-art solutions, RcUBe offers a structured methodology at variable levels of abstraction to accommodate implementations of a wide range of network architectures and protocols and complex decision-making in a modular, platform-independent way. RcUBe provides these features through a design structured into four distinct, but interacting planes, namely decision, control, data, and register plane. The broad capabilities of the proposed framework are demonstrated on a network level software-defined radio setup through a range of experiments where RcUBe is used to implement various reconfigurable functionalities of a wireless system at the PHY, MAC, and network layer.