Online Wireless Lab (OWL)

The “Online Wireless Lab (OWL)” testbed of the TU Dresden Vodafone Chair supports the experimental investigation of technologies for next generations of wireless communications systems.

We provide Software Defined Reconfigurable Radio Devices (USRPs), which includes a powerful FPGA and can be used for prototyping wireless communication systems. The development tool LabVIEW/LVC in combination with USRPs supports experimenting with existing protocols such as LTE and 802.11, but it also enables fast proof-of-concept for innovative communication technologies such as Generalized Frequency Division Multiplexing (GFDM).


OWL supports the jFed experimentation tool. On our reservation webpage, users can check the availabilities of the resources, contact us and reserve them for their experiments. The experiment server will prepare the remote access basing on the reservation information and the operation commands from jFed from the user side. Upon scheduled start time, the users can remotely access the testbed and control the setups via SSH. OWL will create a separate gateway for each experimentation group. The operating system image on each resource PC is saved for each group and can be reloaded and updated when used the next time.

SDR Platform

In the OWL testbed, we employ the NI LabVIEW Communications System Design Suite 2.0 and the NI Software Defined Radio Reconfigurable Device such as USRP 2953R to build the reconfigurable SDR platform.

LabVIEW Communications System Design Suite is a development environment using a graphical programming language. It allows the users’ designs to be easily deployed in both host processors and FPGAs. Together with the NI software defined radio hardware, it simplifies the prototyping of advanced wireless communication systems. The LVC 2.0 in our testbed includes LTE and 802.11 Application Frameworks, which can be used as a reference design of PHY layer.

USRP 2953 RIO is built on the Labview reconfigurable I/O (RIO) and USRP architectures. It includes a powerful FPGA for advanced DSP that is programmable with the LabVIEW FPGA Module. It offers center frequencies from 1.2GHz to 6 GHz, with the Bandwidth of 40MHz per channel, and it includes 2x2 MIMO RF transceivers with an on-board Kintex 7 FPGA.

The OWL testbed is extendable. Currently we offer four kinds of experiment units:

  1. MultiRat Platform
    In order to enable the prototyping of all the layers of LTE and 802.11 protocol, we combined build the two MultiRat Platforms. Each MultiRat Platform contains 2 USRPs and 2 controllers. The setup can be listed as:
    Available Hardware:
    • NI PXIe 1082 with controller NI PXIe-8133, or with controller NI PXIe-8880
    • NI USRO RIO 2953R, NI USRP RIO 2954R
    • Antenna VERT2450, SMA cables
    Available Software:
    • WIN7, NI Realtime Linux
    • NI LabVIEW Communications System Design Suite 2.0
    • 802.11 Application Framework
    • LTE Application Framework
    • Matlab R2016a
    • ns-3

  2. PC with USRP b205 mini
    This experiment unit provides the Ubuntu with necessary development tool software such as Matlab, GNURadio and UHD, and is connected with a USRP b205-mini via USB port.

  3. Node with NI USRP 2920
    This node consists of the following components:
    Available Hardware:
    • PC with intel i7 processer, USRP 2920
    • SMA cable, MIMO cables
    Available Software:
    • OS: Windows 7, Linux (Ubuntu 16.04)
    • Other: Labview Communications 2.0, Labview 2015

    The two USRP 2920s are connected to the PC Host by a Ethernet cable. A MIMO cable synchronizes the two USRP 2920s. The two USRP 2920s and the Labview Communications 2.0 or Labview 2015 compose a SDR Platform.
    We provided both WIN7 OSI and Ubuntu 16.04 OSI images for this resource node. One USRP 205 mini is also connected to this PC via USB. If the user select the Ubuntu image in jFed, this node can also work as the node with USRP b205 mini

  4. 2 NI PXI units connected to a PC with LabVIEW for the mmWave experiments

Setting up an Experiment

The FED4FIRE users can check the availability of the resources on the reservation webpage, and reserve the required experimentation resources when they are available. This will allow the Aggregate Manager to get the information of the reservation. After this reservation, the users can setup an experiment using jFed. The request from jFed will be accepted and executed by the AM to allocate, initiate and start the experimentation units. Then the user can try out their experiment on top of our hardware using SSH or via Remote Desktop. After the reserved time expires, the AM will save the OS Image for the current user group and free the experimentation resources.

You can find more details in our online tutorial and our youtube channel