SDR brings a great deal of resource-intensive processing to the application in order to handle the variety of waveforms, modulation schemes, and other RF functions. This additional processing comes at the expense of greater power requirements. This drives the designer to make performance/power tradeoffs in the design of SDR systems. Power management in Software Defined Radio is a major concern since most SDR applications use more power than hardware radios. Also, field deployed units need to conserve power since they typically run on batteries. The RF front ends are typically overpowered as they need to generate RF patterns across a wide range. Finally, SDR applications tend to generate excessive heat which needs to be dissipated.
Power management is a key success factor in software-defined radio applications due to the portable nature of most target systems. In this paper
the authors propose a horizontal layering of the hardware along with software-specific APIs to provide component-level control over power management. By dividing the system into components, power consumption can be customized for the application. For example, a signal processing intensive application could shut down other functions while the FPGA/Processor works. The user can turn off functions to increase the battery lifetime in a mission critical operation.