SDR uses software to perform some or all of the radio functions traditionally carried out by dedicated hardware, such as mixing, amplification, filtering and modulation. The flexibility of this approach means that a single unit can fulfil many purposes, such as multiple input, multiple output (MIMO) operations and IP meshing.
By using one computer or embedded system for many functions, system size and weight is minimised, making SDR transceivers ideal for UAVs (unmanned aerial vehicles) and unmanned systems.
Radio transmitters and receivers for UAVs, UGVs, robotics and other unmanned applications must be versatile enough and have sufficient bandwidth for vehicle command and control and sensor information transmission. Many SDR transceivers offer the ability to operate on a number of different frequency ranges.
A stable, secure connection is essential for reliable operation of these vehicles, and SDR transceivers are ideal for providing high bandwidth communication that is resistant to interference and can handle high throughput for transmitting information such as high-resolution video footage.
Because SDR is used extensively in tactical military communication and for controlling restricted UAVs and unmanned vehicles, many software defined radio units incorporate advanced encryption methods to keep communication secure.