Crowd-funding a software defined radio platform: Lime Microsystems

Crowd-funding a software defined radio platform: Lime Microsystems

Business news |
By Julien Happich

The LimeSDR platform is a low cost application-enabled software defined radio (SDR) platform that can be programmed to support virtually any type of wireless standard – including Wi-Fi, ZigBee and Bluetooth through to cellular standards such as UMTS, LTE and GSM and to the emerging IoT communication protocols such as LoRa.

Network operators, for example, can now create and deploy wireless network infrastructure almost anywhere at a fraction of today’s costs. Likewise, educational establishments, research organisations and the maker community can learn and test new communications techniques, develop new applications and open up new markets using the LimeSDR platform. Potential applications identified already also include RADAR, radio astronomy and IoT gateways.

Measuring just 100 x 60 mm, the LimeSDR board uses the Lime Microsystems LMS7002M field programmable radio frequency (FPRF) transceiver to provide continuous coverage of the frequency range 100 kHz to 3.8 GHz with a 120 MHz RF bandwidth. The transceiver contains two transmit and two receive chains for provisioning a 2×2 multiple in multiple out (MIMO) capability. Complementing the wireless transceiver is an Intel/Altera Cyclone IV field programmable gate array (FPGA) that allows high bandwidth DSP tasks to be carried out in hardware. Interfacing to the host application is via USB 3.0 using a Cypress USB 3.0 microcontroller. Transmit output, up to 6.5 dBm continuous wave, is through four U.FL connectors, providing two outputs per transceiver chain. Six U.FL connectors, three per receiver chain, are used for receiver antennas.

Ebrahim Bushehri, CEO of Lime Microsystems comments, “With LimeSDR our aim is to bring the same level of programmability we have in the digital domain into RF and as a result, we believe the next generation of wireless networks could bring real innovation into this field.”

Ensuring that LimeSDR backers can start development as quickly as possible, Lime Microsystems have built a wide range of open source support tools and resources such as providing a host drive architecture that supports SoapySDR and UHDTM APIs from the outset. SoapySDR is a vendor and platform neutral SDR support library used to provide a C++ API with C wrapper and Python bindings. Radio application development is made possible by support from the Pothos dataflow programming software suite and the GNU Radio open source signal processing toolkit.

A limited number of early bird LimeSDR platforms are available for $199. Selected backer levels will also include cases, antennas and cables for easy and quick set-up.

The LimeSDR hardware design, FPGA RTL and USB controller firmware, together with the associated host driver, are all open source and have been published via

The LimeSDR Crowd Supply campaign:

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