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Re: [Discuss-gnuradio] On tunnel.py

From: Alex Zhang
Subject: Re: [Discuss-gnuradio] On tunnel.py
Date: Fri, 29 Mar 2013 12:25:10 -0500

Totally agree to stop using the tunnel.py!

Just want to add some my thoughts.

There is a fact that the main users of USRP/GNURadio are the students from universities.
Firstly, these people lack the experience on the communications development, either in software designing or in wireless communications theory.
Secondly, the reasons why they select the USRP/GNURadio as the development platform for their research, as my understanding is that they (including I) expect the USRP/GNURadio can provide a very quick solution to build a experimental physical layer for the research over this platform. Actually, most of the time, this pressure comes from their professors who are only focused on advanced research of a narrow area, but don't tolerate too much time of a student on the whole system development. This is the background in which why so many people always try to find the out-of-the-box solution in GNURadio/USRP. 

I don't want to put negative points to this kind of expectation, but it seems to be just reality. It may give us a hint how the GNURadio/USRP is evolving from the customers' expect.
USRP/GNURadio are great work in establishing a flexible framework of software defined radio. But as Tom said, the communications itself is very very hard. How to help the customer to build a robust and strong radio communication system in their specific research needs is really a big challenge. I think the community needs more technical discussion the communications and signal processing theory in practical ways, besides the software development only. 
Also, the  GNURadio itself need more evolution on the demonstrative solutions of the communications, like the OFDM in improving.

And of course, this is a open source community. The GNURadio needs everyone's contribution, including both issues reports and new developments, new applications.

On Fri, Mar 29, 2013 at 11:39 AM, Tom Rondeau <address@hidden> wrote:
Please, everyone, listen up.

There's been a ton of traffic on the mailing list regarding tunnel.py
(and I bet I know why). I want you all to pay close attention to what
I'm going to say regarding how to get tunnel.py to work for you:

Stop using tunnel.py.

It's old. It hasn't had any significant work or updates in years.
Meanwhile, we've made huge leaps in capabilities and features in GNU
Radio. A lot has changed, including the switch to the UHD drivers,
which also impacts how things work.

You can do better. The stream tags and message passing system provide
a significant amount of new capabilities that can help us make much
better digital transceivers. Johnathan Corgan recently wrote to the
mailing list discussing other projects working on improving these

Take a look at the work that's been going into the OFDM examples
lately. Martin Braun and Ben Reynwar have used stream tags effectively
to provide information on packet boundaries and trigger conditions for
receiver synchronization. And they've done it all in GRC so it's
easier to understand the flowgraph, modify it, and hopefully even
replace blocks. [1]

Also, recognize that tunnel.py and the benchmark scripts are provided
as /examples/. They were never meant nor installed as applications.
They are there to help you understand how to put blocks together and
interact with Python, C++, callback functions, OS tools, etc. etc. But
they are not going to solve you digital transmission problems.

GNU Radio is a platform to develop radio applications. You have to use
it as a development tool, not an out-of-the-box solution.

I say this because I want us to do better as a community. We've been
held back for too long because people think that the benchmark and
tunnel.py scripts are the final word in GNU Radio's digital
communications capabilities. But that's what you are for! You can help
us improve it, like Ben and Martin did with the OFDM work. It's not
easy, but communications is not easy. In fact, it's very, very hard.


[1] There's still a bug in the new OFDM work. Marin, Johnathan C. and
myself figured it out yesterday, but I'm still formatting the right
way to patch it.

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