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ToorCon Software Defined Radio Workshop


A variety of mobile communication standards currently exist, the work of different standards in different frequency bands, different modulation, resulting in interoperability between systems is difficult, to the roaming mobile users a great deal of restrictions. The software radio is the most promising technologies to address these issues. Development of software radio is a fully programmable hardware platforms, all applications on the platform through software programming. In other words, different systems of base stations and mobile terminals are built on the same hardware can be based on different software. The technology will be able to guarantee all kinds of mobile stations, a variety of mobile communications seamless integration between devices and greatly reduce the construction costs.

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									ToorCon Software Defined Radio Workshop
Course Description
The two day software defined radio (SDR) workshop at ToorCon is an introduction to digital signal
processing, software radio, and the powerful tools that enable the growing array of SDR projects
within the hacker community. This course takes a unique “software radio for hackers” approach,
building on the participants' knowledge of computer programming and introducing them to the
forefront of digital radio technology. Participants will learn how to transmit, receive, and analyze
radio signals and will be prepared to use this knowledge in the research of wireless communication

Who should attend?
Anyone who has ever taken an interest wireless systems or signal processing. We teach a mixture
of digital signal processing and RF theory, using the GNU Radio tools for demonstration and
experimentation either individually or in groups. A background in software development and an
interest in security are helpful but not required.

Course Outline

Introduction to Software Defined Radio
   •   Overview of SDR
   •   What people have done with software radio in the hacker community
   •   GNU Radio architecture and what it includes
   •   What you can do in GNU Radio Companion vs. python vs. C++
   •   Capabilities of USRP and USRP2

Exercise: Finding a Signal
   •   Using a USRP and GNU Radio to locate and receive a radio signal
   •   Signal analysis with Baudline

Complex vs. Real Signals
   •   How to think in the complex plane
   •   Why we use complex signals for software radio

Exercise: Working with Complex Signals (part 1)
   •   A software challenge

Exercise: Working with Complex Signals (part 2)
   •   Exploring real and complex signals in GNU Radio Companion
Aliasing and Sampling Theory
  •   Introduction to sampling and aliasing
  •   Negative frequencies: what they mean in real vs. complex signals
  •   Importance of anti-aliasing filters
  •   The Nyquist criterion

Exercise: Transmission and Simulation
  •   Transmit a signal with a USRP
  •   Simulate both transmission and reception on a single computer

Exercise: Digital Filters
  •   Explore different types of filters in GNU Radio Companion

  •   The term “bandwidth” and what it means in the context of radio communications
  •   Familiarity with the bandwidth of different wireless technologies
  •   Uses of filters

Exercise: Replay
  •   Attack an active RFID security device by capturing and replaying a signal

  •   amplitude modulation
  •   frequency modulation
  •   phase modulation
  •   analog vs. digital modulations

Exercise: Modulation Identification
  •   Try to identify the type of modulation used in some sample transmissions

Reverse Engineering
  •   Using online resources
  •   Finding a signal with a USRP
  •   Signal analysis
  •   Determining signal characteristics (frequency, bandwidth, modulation, symbol rate)
Exercise: Reverse Engineering
   •   Investigate a device experimentally and/or online

Decoding Digital Signals
   •   Digital Modulations
   •   Synchronization
   •   Correlation

A Software Radio View of GSM
   •   Overview of the GSM radio interface
   •   Open source SDR GSM tools
   •   GSM challenges: clocks, encryption, legal transmission

Exercise: GSM Signal Analysis
   •   Analyze an actual over-the-air signal

Exercise: Decoding
   •   Decode a digital radio transmission

The Discrete Fourier Transform
   •   Demystification of the most useful algorithm in signal processing
   •   The Fast Fourier Transform (FFT)

What should I bring?

There are no minimum processing power or memory requirements but signal processing is an
intensive application, so more of both is always useful. A native Linux installation is strongly
recommended. USB 2.0 (for USRP) or gigabit ethernet (for USRP2) are required for taking live

Required Software
We'll be working with the GNU radio toolkit which is an open-source signal processing framework.
In order to make the best use of workshop time, you should bring a working copy already installed.
Detailed installation instructions and assistance will be provided by email prior to the workshop.
You should also install Baudline, a visual signal analysis tool.

While all of the workshop exercises can be done with just a laptop, it is recommended that you
bring a USRP or USRP2 from Ettus Research. Without such a platform you would be limited to
working with radio waveforms in the digital domain and would not be able to participate directly in
over-the-air exercises.

Wireless Devices
Anything with a radio that you think might be fun to work with or show off. Examples that people
have brought in the past:
   •   Garage door remote controls
   •   Remote keyless entry devices
   •   Remote control toys
   •   Mobile phone jammers
   •   Amateur radio SDR equipment

About the Instructor
Michael Ossmann brings more than a decade of experience teaching network management,
information security, and software radio courses. He has spoken at hacker conferences such as
ShmooCon, DEF CON, and ToorCon and is a wireless security researcher for the Institute for
Telecommunication Sciences at the U.S. Department of Commerce Boulder Laboratories.

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