EE backs Lime Micro SDR platform
Written by: Laurence Doe | Published:

Lime Micro, a UK open source technology innovator, has announced that mobile operator EE is backing its LimeSDR software initiative to bring its software defined radio (SDR) platform into full-scale production.

EE are signing up for a 100-unit bundle of LimeSDR kit, an application-enabled SDR platform that can be programmed to support a wide range of wireless standards, through a crowd-funding campaign. These kits will be given to five UK universities nominated by EE. The universities will receive the kits to develop wireless applications on the hardware and share with the wider research community and encourage further open source wireless innovation.

The campaign aims to raise $500,000 (£344,000) to fund the final stages of development and mass production of platform. LimeSDR has introduced a total of 20 pledge-level 100-unit bundles, each for $99,000 (£68,000). Each bundle includes units with high quality enclosures with the logo of the sponsor organisation.

The bundles also have a complete suite of software and set of accessories. The offering includes a support package provided directly from Lime Micro. The platforms connectivity includes Wi-Fi, ZigBee and Bluetooth through to cellular standards such as UMTS, LTE and GSM and to the emerging IoT communication protocols such as LoRa. Network operators can create and deploy wireless network infrastructure “almost anywhere at a fraction of today’s costs”, claims Lime Micro.

Educational establishments, research organisations and the maker community can learn and test new communications techniques, unleash new applications and open up new markets using the LimeSDR platform. Potential applications already identified include RADAR, radio astronomy and IoT gateways. Lime Micro has built a wide range of open source tools and resources to ensure its LimeSDR backers can start development as quickly as possible. This includes the provision of a host drive architecture that supports SoapySDR and UHDTM APIs from the outset.

SoapySDR is a vendor and platform neutral SDR support library used to provide a C++ API with C wrapper and Python bindings, while UHDTM API support means compatibility with a vast array of existing SDR ecosystem applications. Rapid application development is made possible by support from the Pothos dataflow programming software suite and the GNU Radio open source signal processing toolkit. Individual LimeSDR platforms are available through the campaign for $249 (£171) and the selected backer levels will also include cases, antennas and cables for easy and quick set-up.

EE partnership
Last month, EE partnered with Lime Micro and Canonical, another UK open source technology innovator, to launch a fully programmable network capability – using LimeSDR – to change the way mobile networks are built in the future.

The software is allowing developers to configure and provide any wireless service, including 4G and Wi-Fi, to enable developers to create new applications and services for a mobile network. EE will deploy the solutions created by this partnership as part of its work with the Telecom Infrastructure Project, with the first project committed to connect an area of the Scottish Highlands and Islands in 2016. EE and Lime have also provided the programmable development kit to the University of Highlands and Islands to bring together the best innovators in the UK and create a bespoke solution for the area.

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