Apache Labs – Not an Inside Job! August 25th, 2013
There is one decision that is most important from the SDR perspective and that is where should all the main processing be carried out? Traditional thinking behind SDR is that the PC should carry the work load and this makes a lot of sense. The other school of thought is to put the processor inside the radio and let the PC act simply as a control surface and a graphic display.
But this does present a big problem, particularly further down the line. PCs are continually evolving devices and the cost of upgrading a PC or even buying a new one every few years is not nearly as costly as it once was. So as devices get more powerful and faster, your SDR radio gets better and better. BUT, if you stick all the processing inside the radio, you are stuck with it until you buy a new radio. Simple question: which is the cheapest and most sensible option? Answer: Keep all the processing inside the PC. That way, you are free to update your PC with immediate benefit to the performance of your radio. And you are also free to swap PCs around to test the difference in resulting radio performance. That’s the way Apache Labs aproach their designs! Peter G3OJV