MATLAB & Simulink


Wireless Communications Systems Design with MATLAB and USRP Software-Defined Radios

Course Highlights

This two-day course shows how to design and simulate single- and multi-carrier digital communications systems using MATLAB. Multi-antenna and turbo-coded communication systems are introduced, and different channel impairments and their modeling are demonstrated. Components from LTE and IEEE 802.11 systems will be used as examples. Students will build a radio-in-the-loop system using real-time hardware (RTL-SDR and USRP).

The target audience for this course includes system engineers and RF engineers who need a fast ramp-up on modern communication techniques and the radio-in-the-loop workflow.


MATLAB® Fundamentals and knowledge of digital communications systems.



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Course Outline

Day 1 of 2

Communication Over a Noiseless Channel


Objective: Modeling an ideal single-carrier communications system and becoming familiar with System objects.

  • Sampling theorem and aliasing

  • Complex baseband versus real passband simulation

  • Creating a random bit stream

  • System objects and their benefits

  • Modulating a bit stream using QPSK

  • Applying pulse-shaping to the transmitted signal

  • Eye diagrams and spectral analysis

  • Modeling a QPSK receiver for a noiseless channel

  • Computing bit error rate


Noisy Channels, Channel Coding, and Error Rates


Objective: Modeling an AWGN channel. Using convolutional, LDPC, and turbo codes to reduce bit error rate. Error correcting codes from DVB-S.2 and LTE systems are used as examples. Accelerating simulations using multiple cores.

  • Modeling an AWGN channel

  • Using channel coding and decoding: convolutional, LDPC, and turbo codes

  • Trellis diagram and Viterbi decoding

  • Using Parallel Computing Toolbox to accelerate Monte Carlo simulations

  • Discussion of alternative acceleration methods: GPUs, MDCS, MATLAB Parallel Cloud


Timing and Frequency Errors and Multipath Channels


Objective: Modeling frequency offset, timing jitter errors, and mitigation using frequency and timing synchronization techniques. Modeling flat fading, multipath channels, and mitigation using equalizers.

  • Modeling phase and timing offsets

  • Mitigating frequency offset using a PLL

  • Mitigating timing jitter using Gardner timing synchronization

  • Modeling flat fading channels

  • Channel estimation using training sequences

  • Modeling frequency selective fading channels

  • Using Viterbi equalizers for time-invariant channels and LMS linear equalizers for time-varying channels

  • Demonstration of a real-time demodulation of single-carrier broadcast using RTL-SDR

Day 2 of 2

Multi-carrier Communications Systems for Multipath Channels


Objective: Understanding motivation for multi-carrier communications systems for frequency selective channels. Modeling an OFDM transceiver with a cyclic prefix and windowing. System parameter values from IEEE 802.11ac and LTE will be used.

  • Motivation for multi-carrier communications

  • Introduction to Orthogonal Frequency Division Multiplexing (OFDM)

  • Generating OFDM symbols using the IFFT

  • Preventing inter-block interference using a cyclic prefix

  • Using windowing to reduce out-of-band emissions

  • Advantages and disadvantages of OFDM

  • Timing and frequency recovery methods for OFDM

  • Channel estimation using pilot symbols

  • Frequency domain equalization


Using Multiple Antennas for Robustness and Capacity Gains


Objective: Understanding alternative multiple antenna communications system. Modeling beamforming, diversity, and spatial multiplexing systems. Constructing a MIMO-OFDM system for wideband communications. MIMO modes of IEEE 802.11ac and LTE will be discussed.

  • Advantages and types of multi-antenna systems

  • Transmit and receive beamforming

  • Receive diversity techniques

  • Achieving transmit diversity using orthogonal space-time block codes

  • Narrowband multiple input-multiple output (MIMO) channel model

  • MIMO channel estimation

  • Spatial multiplexing using ZF and MMSE equalization

  • Wideband communications using an MIMO-OFDM system


Building a Radio-in-the-Loop System


Objective: Understanding the radio-in-the-loop development workflow. Using RTL-SDRs and USRPs as radio-in-the-loop development platforms.

  • Overview of the radio-in-the-loop workflow

  • MathWorks communications hardware support (RTL-SDR, USRP, Zynq-Based Radio)

  • Hardware alternative comparison (pros/cons table)

  • Different RIL transmit and receive modes (single burst, looped, streamed)

  • Build an end-to-end single-antenna multi-carrier communications system using a USRP

  • Demonstration of a 2x2 OFDM-MIMO over-the-air system using USRPs