Wavelet Lab's uSDR Is a Tiny Software-Defined Radio with Easily-Accessible Browser-Based Software

Designed to make software-defined radio more accessible, this M.2 module uses WebUSB to connect to a browser-based software bundle.

Gareth Halfacree
9 months agoCommunication / HW101 / FPGAs

UPDATE (6/16/2023): Wavelet Lab has now launched its crowdfunding campaign for the compact yet powerful uSDR software defined radio module, setting pricing at $299 plus shipping for the M.2 2230 A+E-key device.

Backers can also purchase adapters which convert the M.2 module to mini-PCIe or USB, another adapter which allows the module to be connected to B+M-key M.2 slots, and a development board which includes frontend, receive and transmit filters, USB Type-C and PCI Express interfaces, a clock oscillator, and 12 general-purpose input/output (GPIO) pins. Finally, an "Early Adopter Kit" is available with one of everything.

All hardware is expected to ship in late February next year, the company has confirmed, with the exception of the Early Adopter Kit which ships at the end of November this year. More information is available on the project's Crowd Supply campaign page.

Original article continues below.

Boston-based Wavelet Lab is aiming to bring software-defined radio (SDR) to a broader audience, combining a drop-in M.2 SDR radio module with a browser-based interface — complete with the ability to quickly share recordings and even the radio hardware itself with friends and colleagues.

"uSDR is an embedded software-defined radio board that targets ease of use and collaboration," its creators claim. "It incorporates WebUSB technology, which enables full functionality in the Chrome browser under Linux, Windows, MacOS, and Android, all without requiring specific drivers or software. The uSDR web platform makes software-defined radio accessible to everyone, providing an easy starting point from which to learn and prototype."

The uSDR and its browser-based WebSDR platform aim to demystify software-defined radio. (📹: Wavelet Lab)

The WebSDR platform itself — which, despite the name of the hardware with which it's designed to work, is not related to the uSDR software project — is designed to offer all the features commonly available with desktop software-defined radio applications, including tuning, spectrum analysis, IQ recording, and decoders including FM radio. In addition to being able to share recordings, Wavelet Lab promises support for sharing a single uSDR device among multiple users through its cloud platform.

"Have you ever worked with software-defined radio? Just getting started typically requires the installation of compatible software-support libraries and drivers for your operating system, followed by the installation and configuration of at least one user-facing application — sometimes a particular version of that application. This process can be challenging and discouraging," Wavelet Lab says. "To address this, we developed uSDR, a straightforward hardware solution that leverages WebUSB technology so you can operate it through through your web browser, which effectively eliminates installation, configuration, and compatibility hassles."

The uSDR module itself is based on a compact M.2 2230 layout with A-key and E-key compatibility, built with components on the top side only to reduce its overall height. The device has a Lime Microsystems LMS6002D SDR chip offering a single channel with full-duplex receive and transmit across a 300 to 3,700MHz range, can capture up to 30.72 mega-samples per second (Msps), and includes a clock stable to a claimed 0.5 parts per million (PPM). Glue logic is provided on an AMD Xilinx Artix-7 field-programmable gate array (FPGA), with MHF4 connectors for external antennas.

The company is preparing to launch a crowdfunding campaign for the uSDR hardware and associated WebSDR platform on Crowd Supply, with interested parties advised to sign up for notification when the campaign goes live. For those who are already well-versed in SDR technology, the uSDR module can also be used with GNU Radio and SoapySDR-compatible software.

Gareth Halfacree
Freelance journalist, technical author, hacker, tinkerer, erstwhile sysadmin. For hire: freelance@halfacree.co.uk.
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