There are two primary flows that we employ when investigating new ideas in physical layer space. The first is a non-real-time system called WARPLab. This makes real-time use of the channel but all the transmitter and receiver processing is done offline in MATLAB. This is a good beginning when trying new physical layer ideas. The second is building real-time systems to be implemented in the FPGA. Hence the programs can be independent and standalone on the node. Once new ideas have shown promise they can be hardened. We primarily use System Generator to build our physical layers.
The real-time design flow starts at the System Generator layer but also must include the layer above, C/C++ code in the PowerPC to implement a MAC to control the physical layer.
So the design flows are divided into:
Measurement studies with the real-time design can be controlled with the WARPnet Testing Framework.
Additionally, there are several peripherals that are required to connect physical layers to the hardware.