This page is an archive of the original crowdfunding campaign for this project. It may not be up-to-date with the latest updates and product availability. Return to the current project page.
"What makes LimeSDR interesting is that it is using Snappy Ubuntu Core as a sort of app store. Developers can make code available, and end-users can easily download and install that code."
"Learn and test new communications techniques, unleash new applications and open up new markets using the powerful LimeSDR platform"
"...a low cost, app-enabled software defined radio (SDR) base station that can be programmed to support any type of wireless standard – putting significant power at the disposal of anyone who wants to innovate in the world of wireless"
"Lime Microsystems have built a wide range of open source support tools and resources...from the outset"
"Create and deploy wireless network infrastructure almost anywhere at a fraction of today’s costs"
"EE is using technology from UK company Lime Micro, which itself is using a software-based implementation of a complete mobile core network from Quortus."
"Educational establishments, research organisations and the maker community can learn and test new communications techniques, unleash new applications and open up new markets using the LimeSDR platform."
"The LimeSDR platform is a low cost application-enabled software defined radio (SDR) platform that can be programmed to support virtually any type of wireless standard."
"De dubbla transceivrarna gör rf-kretsen lämplig för olika typer av Mimo-system med en bandbredd upp till 60 MHz per kanal."
"From WiFi, ZigBee and Bluetooth through to cellular standards such as UMTS, LTE and GSM and to the emerging IoT communication protocols such as LoRa, the platform offers endless wireless connectivity opportunities. "
"Ensuring that LimeSDR backers can start development as quickly as possible, Lime Micro has built a wide range of open source tools and resources such as providing a host drive architecture that supports SoapySDR and UHD APIs from the outset."
"Lime Microsystems aims to provide that as part of a wider ecosystem, enabling experimentation, innovation and customisation for both licensed and unlicensed spectrum."
"... initiative involves using a small computer that can provide a mobile network in locations where the coverage is poor, or non existent."
"... gives students, inventors, and developers an intelligent and flexible device for manipulating wireless signals... with freedom from limited functionality and expensive proprietary devices. Lime has democratized a critical part of telecoms networks."
"The Snappy Ubuntu App Store will ensure the software defined radio (SDR) apps developed with the LimeSDR board are downloadable and those developed by Lime remain completely open-sourced."
"Developers are already using the LimeSDR to develop apps with LTE, Bluetooth and LoRa, and future applications including IoT Gateway, 2G to 5G cellular Network in a box, drone command and control, utility meters, home automation and media streaming"
"Unlike most SDRs that require RF and protocol experts, the LimeSDR is can be used anyone familiar with the idea of an app store - it’s the first SDR to integrate with Snappy Ubuntu Core."
"Billed as ‘Arduino for telco engineers’, LimeSDR was developed to help operators respond to over-the-top (OTT) services players such as Facebook and Google and, at the same time, help them invest in larger and faster networks more easily."
"The configuration software lets users configure it to offer any wireless service like 4G, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, as well as develop new applications and services for a mobile network."
"Lime hits crowdfunding target, a milestone in open source mobile hardware"
EE, the UK’s largest operator and with the most innovative 4G deployment, has backed the campaign at the 100-pack pledge level! They will distribute the 100 LimeSDRs to educational institutions across the UK. Read the full update here.
LimeSDR is a low cost, open source, apps-enabled (more on that later) software defined radio (SDR) platform that can be used to support just about any type of wireless communication standard. LimeSDR can send and receive UMTS, LTE, GSM, LoRa, Bluetooth, Zigbee, RFID, and Digital Broadcasting, to name but a few.
While most SDRs have remained in the domain of RF and protocol experts, LimeSDR is usable by anyone familiar with the idea of an app store - it’s the first SDR to integrate with Snappy Ubuntu Core. This means you can easily download new LimeSDR apps from developers around the world. If you’re a developer yourself, you can share and/or sell your LimeSDR apps through Snappy Ubuntu Core as well.
The LimeSDR platform gives students, inventors, and developers an intelligent and flexible device for manipulating wireless signals, so they can learn, experiment, and develop with freedom from limited functionality and expensive proprietary devices.
Top (left) and bottom (right) of the LimeSDR PCBA
Here are just some of the applications that are possible with the LimeSDR:
With state-of-the-art technical specs, fully open hardware and toolchain, and integration with Snappy Ubuntu Core’s app distribution platform, LimeSDR is limited only by our collective imagination.
LimeSDR with four antennas attached
|HackRF One||Ettus B200||Ettus B210||BladeRF x40||RTL-SDR||LimeSDR|
|Sample Depth||8 bits||12 bits||12 bits||12 bits||8 bits||12 bits|
|Sample Rate||20MSPS||61.44MSPS||61.44MSPS||40MSPS||3.2MSPS||61.44MSPS (Limited by USB 3.0 data rate)|
|Interface||USB 2.0||USB 3.0||USB 3.0||USB 3.0||USB 2.0||USB 3.0|
|Programmable Logic Gates||64 macrocell CPLD||75k||100k||40k (115k avail)||N/A||40k|
|Chipset||MAX5864, MAX2837, RFFC5072||AD9364||AD9361||LMS6002M||RTL2832U||LMS7002M|
|Open Source||Full||Schematic, Firmware||Schematic, Firmware||Schematic, Firmware||No||Full|
|Oscillator Precision||+/-20ppm||+/-2ppm||+/-2ppm||+/-1ppm||?||+/-1ppm initial, +/-4ppm stable|
|Transmit Power||-10dBm+ (15dBm @ 2.4GHz)||10dBm+||10dBm+||6dBm||N/A||0 to 10dBm (depending on frequency)|
|Price||$299||$686||$1,119||$420 ($650)||~$10||$299 ($199 early bird)|
LimeSDR housed in an aluminum case
LimeSDR housed in an acrylic case
Over the last three years, we’ve worked on numerous open source projects, all made available through Myriad-RF. This is no different, open source is central to LimeSDR:
Like the move to open source software with general purpose computers, the programmable, fully open source LimeSDR represents a fundamental shift away from the traditionally single-function and heavily proprietary wireless domain.
We’ve been working directly with the IoT team at Canonical, the makers of Ubuntu, to enable the use of Snappy Ubuntu Core on LimeSDR.
LimeSDR’s integration with Snappy Ubuntu Core means that you benefit from the collective work of developers around the world. With LimeSDR, we are laying the foundation for a world in which “there’s an app for that” applies not only to mobile phones, but also to the cell towers they connect to and, indeed, every wireless device or piece of infrastructure.
LimeSDR brings with it many opportunities for educational and maker communities, empowering them to learn, and create new applications and even new markets. LimeSDR puts serious power in the hands of anyone who wants to innovate in the world of wireless. We no longer have to wait for established interests to innovate on our behalf.
LimeSDR front view
To further provide the framework for developers to create the next generation of wireless applications, in addition to partnering with Canonical/Ubuntu, we are also partnering with the UK’s largest mobile carrier to deploy LimeSDRs on an experimental basis onto their network. This means that your application on LimeSDR might one day be deployed on massive networks.
LimeSDR back view
We’ve put significant effort into ensuring that backers will have a first class out-of-box experience by providing support for a vast array of open source SDR ecosystem software. This is thanks to a host driver architecture that supports both the SoapySDR and UHD APIs. With this support, you can be up and running with many existing applications in no time at all. In addition to providing the streaming interface, the driver also supports advanced features such as timed TX bursts and RX sample timestamps, as required for use with GSM and other time-sensitive protocols.
Of course, these examples don’t take advantage of the performance and high data rates available with LimeSDR, but they do demonstrate the basics.
The LimeSDR’s host driver is built on top of Lime Suite, a low level library that takes care of programming and calibration for the LMS7002M FPRF transceiver. Lime Suite also provides a GUI that lets you directly read and write to registers, update the Cypress FX3 USB 3.0 controller firmware and Altera Cyclone IV FPGA bitstream, and display FFT plots.
We used SoapySDR, the vendor/platform neutral SDR support library, to provide a C++ API with C wrapper and Python bindings. This architecture is modular and supports plugins, such as the UHD module, which lets LimeSDR use the UHDTM API, allowing access to a diverse array of existing SDR ecosystem software. The library also enables remote access support, which allows LimeSDR to be accessed transparently over the network by applications running on other hosts.
Rapid application development is further enhanced with the combination of Pothos dataflow programming software suite and GNU Radio. With an extensive collection of DSP and related blocks, together with GUI environments that allow all manner of applications — from Bluetooth and WiFi to RADAR and radio astronomy — this combo lets you rapidly and easily build an application stack.
The development environment is made even more accessible by the fact that the host driver, Lime Suite, and SoapySDR are all open source, as are Pothos and GNU Radio. The full Altium design database for LimeSDR, along with the USB controller firmware and FPGA RTL is also open source, meaning that if you need to implement some new firmware or FPGA feature, you can — in fact, you’re even free to make your own variant of the LimeSDR hardware and use elements of it in your own designs. In addition, a KiCAD recapture and layout is planned.
In addition to the standard LimeSDR that interfaces to the host computer via USB 3.0, there is also a variant of the LimeSDR that interfaces to the host computer via PCIe and is otherwise has the identical feature set.
LimeSDR variant with a PCIe interface
Lime Microsystems has been developing field programmable RF chips for over a decade. Now, we have partnered with Canonical/Ubuntu to provide the framework for open source developers to create the next generation of wireless applications. This, along with our partnership with the UK’s largest mobile carrier, could mean that your application on LimeSDR may one day be deployed on a wide scale.
We’ve also been working on the development of a first class driver for LimeSDR with Josh Blum, the original creator of GNU Radio Companion and developer of SoapySDR and Pothos.
LimeSDR will be supported via Myriad-RF, the initiative and community founded by Lime Micro that is fully dedicated to democratising wireless communications. Join us!