SORA Radio-Control Board (RCB)


The SORA project is a Microsoft Research Labs project devoted to revolutionizing sofware-developed radio. It is an expression of how to maximise possible communication by raising throughput (through use of a PCIe-x8 bus, in order to lower latency the most efficiently) up to 12Gbps, in order to output, for example, a wireless IEEE 802.11 a/b/g equivilent, known as SoftWifi. All such PHY and MAC processing (again, referencing the OSI model of networking) is done in such software.

The 802.11b package has been released, with a 802.11a/g package to follow soon.

GNURadio and SORAEdit

GNURadio, one of the main utilizations of software-developed radio, ran into a problem that SORA's goal is to solve: because it is based on a GPP (general purpose processor) platform, it is relatively inexpensive (although WARP motherboards for the required RF front-end are rather expensive at roughly $10,000 - a suggested alternative is the USRP-based daughter boards). However, performance is limited in that commodity PC's (a la a GPP) are simply not designed for true software radio - this is the exact problem.

Sora's implementation of onboard-RAM for modulation, a devoted radio-control board, and the PCIe-x8 bus system, removes latency, allowing for higher speeds and more advanced software radio, yet still at a reasonable cost.

Sora makes use of some of the same architecture as GNURadio, in that they both can use USRP boards.

With Sora, the mainboards for both WARP and USRP are unneccesary - only the daughter boards are required. This greatly reduces prices, and it should be noted that the following boards are required for 802.11 transmission (as 802.11 takes place in the 2.4-5.0Ghz spectrum, and only certain daughter boards support that spectrum).

The Academic Software Development KitEdit

As of right now, there is a SDK publicly available on Microsoft's SORA website,

This SDK, as of early May 2010, only includes library, header, and sample driver files, and as of late May 2010, can be updated to include an /src/ directory that involves a SoftWifi IEEE 802.11b implementation.

Future releases of the SDK are scheduled to include a \tools\ directory with tools within. This is further mentioned in Radio Information. Such tools might feature an oscilliscope and a spectrum detector, if the schedule continues as planned.

Further information with regards to the header files is available on the "Code" page.

Sora Links
Wiki Pages References