In wireless communications, particularly in the military space, software-defined radio (SDR) is the goal. The basic concept of SDR is to position the digital-to-analog separation as close as possible to the antenna. This is accomplished by implementing many functions traditionally performed by analog circuits using reconfigurable digital circuits. Successfully implemented, this can deliver an obsolescence-proof radio product which can support many existing and future air-interfaces and modulation formats.

In practice, these objectives can be difficult to achieve, particularly for smaller, battery-powered applications. Requirements related to cost, power consumption, size, and environmental concerns will usually dictate design
compromises. Although these requirements vary by application, there is still substantial common ground. In this paper, we will explore an optimized architecture for a typical SDR application.