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Full-Duplex Wireless using USRP N210


In this tutorial, we'll use node11-10 in the main grid (equipped with a USRP N210) to transmit and receive a single frequency over the air to demonstrate full-duplex wireless capability using the Columbia FlexICoN's Gen-1 Frequency-Flat Amplitude- and Phase-based RF Canceller. Pictures of the FlexICoN RF canceller and node11-10 in the main grid equipped with full-duplex capability are below:

Figure 1: The ORBIT-FlexICoN Full-Duplex Node
(a) The FlexICoN RF Canceller (b) Full-Duplex SDR at node11-10 in the ORBIT grid


For more information, please read:

Tingjun Chen, Mahmood Baraani Dastjerdi, Jin Zhou, Harish Krishnaswamy, and Gil Zussman, “Open-access full-duplex wireless in the ORBIT testbed,” arXiv preprint: 1801.03069 [cs.NI], Jan. 2018. (arXiv)

Please cite the above paper if you are using the hardware. Please email Tingjun Chen (tingjun [at] if you are using (or plan to use) the full-duplex node, or if you have any questions regarding the FD transceiver and the baseline program.


This work was supported in part by NSF grant ECCS1547406, DARPA RF-FPGA program, DARPA SPAR program, a Qualcomm Innovation Fellowship, Texas Instruments, and Intel. We thank Steven Alfano, Jelena Diakonikolas, Aishwarya Rajen, Jinhui Song, Mingyan Yu for their contributions to various aspects of the project. We thank Ivan Seskar, Jakub Kolodziejski, and Prasanthi Maddala from WINLAB, Rutgers University, for their help on the integration with the ORBIT testbed. We also thank Kira Theuer and Kendall Ruiz from NI and the NI technical support team for their help.

Hardware / Software Resources Utilized

  1. The Columbia FlexICoN Gen-1 RF Canceller, which is a frequency-flat amplitude- and phase-based RF canceller implemented using discrete components on a PCB. The Gen-1 RF canceller is optimized to have a center operating frequency at 900MHz.
  2. USRP N210 with node11-10 in the ORBIT main grid.
  3. SUB-20 is a multi-interface USB adapter for providing popular interfaces between PC (USB host) and different hardware devices. Specifically, we use the SUB-20 SPI module to control and configure the Gen-1 RF canceller (see Fig. 1(a)). The user manual can be found here.
  4. UHD is already installed with the imaged SDR node.
  5. The Eigen C++ Library is used for basic algebra used in channel estimation and digital self-interference cancellation. The Eigen releases can be found on the this website. We used the latest stable release Eigen 3.3.4 through our testings and experiments.

All the source code is also publicly available at here.

Set Up

Before you can access the testbed, you need to make a reservation and get it approved by the reservation service. After receiving the reservation's confirmation (approval) email:

  • Login into reserved domain: ssh
  • Make sure that the full-duplex node is powered down for loading the desired image: omf tell -a offh -t node11-10
  • Load an image on the node (this process can take about a few minutes so please be patient): omf load -i flexicon-orbit-v1.ndz -t node11-10
  • Turn on the node: omf tell -a on -t node11-10
  • Login into the node: ssh root@node11-10 After login into the node, a flexicon_orbit folder should exist under the home directory of node11-10:~/ which contains the source code of this example. You can always retrieve the most recently updated code from here.

Run the Experiments

You will need to login into the full-duplex node (by ssh root@node11-10) in two separate terminal windows lo for running the experiment: one for the main full-duplex transceiver UHD program and one for controlling the RF canceller.

In Terminal 1 (UHD)

  • Build the example (this is already done in the loaded image):
    cd ~/flexicon_orbit/fd_transceiver_simple/uhd/
    mkdir build
    cd build
    cmake ../
  • Configure the USRP Ethernet interface: ifconfig eth2 netmask up
  • Check the conection and serial number of the USRP N210: uhd_find_devices. The serial number should be F331D4.
  • Run the example with IQ rate rate, carrier frequency freq, TX gain tx-gain, and RX gain rx-gain:
    cd ~/flexicon_orbit/fd_transceiver_simple/uhd/build/
    ./fd_transceiver_simple --tx-args="serial=F331D4" --rx-args="serial=F331D4" --rate 1e6 --freq 900e6 --tx-gain 0 --rx-gain 10
    The default sine wave has an amplitude ampl=0.3 and wave frequency of 100kHz wave-freq=100e3, which corresponds to a 0dBm TX power level. This terminal window will show the power level at RX baseband, after RF cancellation (before digital) and after digital cancellation, respetively. The UHD program is calibrated with --rx-gain=10, other RX gain values may results in inaccurate power level computation.
  • An example temrinal output is below:
    root@node11-10:~/flexicon_orbit/fd_transceiver_simple/uhd/build# ./fd_transceiver_simple --tx-args="serial=F331D4" --rx-args="serial=F331D4" --rate 1e6 --freq 900e6 --tx-gain 0 --rx-gain 10
    linux; GNU C++ version 4.8.4; Boost_105400; UHD_003.010.001.001-0-unknown
    Creating the transmit usrp device with: serial=F331D4...
    -- Opening a USRP2/N-Series device...
    -- Current recv frame size: 1472 bytes
    -- Current send frame size: 1472 bytes
    Press Ctrl + C to stop streaming...
    TX Stream time was: 0 full secs, 0.100064 frac secs
    RX Signal Power: -44.093768 dBm (N_FFt = 2048)
    RX Res Signal Power: -98.570747 dBm (N_fft = 1024)
    Amount of Digital SIC: 54.476979 dB
    RX Signal Power: -44.232740 dBm (N_FFt = 2048)
    RX Res Signal Power: -98.113147 dBm (N_fft = 1024)
    Amount of Digital SIC: 53.880407 dB
    RX Signal Power: -43.959299 dBm (N_FFt = 2048)
    RX Res Signal Power: -93.406544 dBm (N_fft = 1024)
    Amount of Digital SIC: 49.447245 dB
    RX Signal Power: -44.179891 dBm (N_FFt = 2048)
    RX Res Signal Power: -101.593147 dBm (N_fft = 1024)
    Amount of Digital SIC: 57.413256 dB
    In this example, since the TX power level is at 0dBm, a total amount of around 90dB self-interference cancellation is achieved, of which 45dB is obtained by the Gen-1 RF canceller, and 50dB is obtained by the digital cancellation.

In Terminal 2 (SUB-20)

  • Build the RF canceller configuration code (this is already done in the loaded image):
    cd ~/flexicon_orbit/fd_transceiver_simple/sub20/
  • Check the connection to the SUB-20 device using command lbusb. You should see a XDIMAX devices connected to the USB hub.
  • Program and configure the RF canceller with the desired values:
    cd ~/flexicon_orbit/fd_transceiver_simple/sub20/
    ./rf_canc_gen1_config PS-CODE ATT-CODE C1-CODE C2-CODE C3-CODE
    In particular, the PS-CODE=0,1,2,...,255 and ATT-CODE=0,1,2,...,127 codes are for configuring the 8-bit phase shifter and the 7-bit attenuator of the Gen-1 RF canceller, respectively. It is recommended to use C1-CODE=16, C2-CODE=6, C3-CODE=6, which provides 20dB isolation from the antenna-circulator interface. You can play with the values of ATT and PS until you see good cancellation profile (e.g., low residual self-interference power level) in Terminal 1.
  • An example temrinal output is below:
    root@node11-10:~/flexicon_orbit/fd_transceiver_simple/sub20# ./rf_canc_gen1_config 110 30 16 6 6
    Sub20 device found... Serial Number is 48AB
    Device Opened!
    ...Finished programming DAC with value 110!
    ...Finished programming ATT with value 30!
    ...Finished programming CAP1 with value 16!
    ...Finished programming CAP2 with value 6!
    ...Finished programming CAP3 with value 6!

A Secondary Transmitter Using Node13-8

Once the full-duplex node11-10 is up and running, you can turn on another SDR to transmit to the full-duplex node. Below, we use node13-8 as an example in the 3rd terminal window (Terminal 3).

  • Load image, power on, and login into node13-8:
    omf tell -a offh -t node13-8
    omf load -i baseline-sdr.ndz -t node13-8
    omf tell -a on -t node13-8
    ssh root@node13-8
  • Configure the USRP Ethernet interface: ifconfig eth2 netmask up
  • Set up a secondary transmitter sending a sine wave at a different frequency (e.g., 200 kHz) than that of the full-duplex node:
    ./tx_waveforms --args="serial=F331D4" --rate 1e6 --freq 900e6 gain 10 --wave-type SINE --wave-freq 200e3
    Now by analyzing the RX baseband data at node11-10, you will observe the received tone at 200kHz while the self-interence tone at 100kHz is cancelled to the USRP noise floor, which is around -90dBm.

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