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Manual Host-Radio Hardware Setup

To implement the features in the Communications Toolbox™ Support Package for Xilinx® Zynq®-Based Radio, you must configure the host computer and the radio hardware for proper communication. After the support package is installed, follow these steps to manually set up the hardware.

Step 1. Complete Hardware Checklist

Use this list to confirm that you have all required hardware and accessories to complete the hardware setup.

1. Gigabit Ethernet connection

This connection is often referred to as a network connection. You can use either an integrated network interface card (NIC) with a Gigabit Ethernet cable or a USB 3.0 Gigabit Ethernet adapter dongle. This connection is necessary for transmitting data, such as a programming file, from the host computer to the radio hardware. It is also necessary for sending and receiving signals to and from the radio hardware.


  • Ethernet connection is the only supported method for connecting the radio hardware and host computer.

  • To have simultaneous Internet access in the absence of a wireless connection, the host computer must have two Ethernet connections.

2. SD card reader and writable SD card

If the host machine does not have an integrated card reader, use an external USB SD card reader.

3. Supported radio hardware

For a list of supported radio hardware, see Hardware Support. Do not connect or turn on the device until you are prompted at a later step.

4. Ethernet cable

You need this cable to connect the radio hardware to the host.

5. Antennas or a loopback cable

You need antennas for transmitting and receiving signals over the air.

Step 2. Set Up Support Package in MATLAB

To work with the support package in MATLAB®, you must create a radio object for your radio hardware. In the following example, dev is a radio object interfacing the AD936x-based radio hardware. For an FMCOMMS5 radio hardware, you must call sdrdev with 'FMCOMMS5' instead of 'AD936x'.

dev = sdrdev('AD936x');

sdrdev also sets up architecture-specific environment variables for the radio hardware. These variables enable communication between MATLAB or Simulink® and the radio hardware.

For more information on creating radio objects, see sdrdev.

Step 3. Configure Host Computer

To connect the radio hardware to the host, you must configure an available network connection for it on the host. Follow the steps outlined for your specific operating system.

 Configure Windows

 Configure Linux

Step 4. Write Firmware

You need an SD memory card that is configured with the firmware of this support package. The firmware includes the embedded software and the FPGA programming file necessary for using the radio hardware as an I/O peripheral. If you have already configured an SD card with this image, skip this step.

  1. Insert a 4 GB or larger SD memory card into the memory card reader on the host computer. Ensure that the SD card has only one partition with a FAT16 or FAT32 file system.


    If the SD card is lockable, you must unlock it first.

    Memory card reader slot on a laptop

  2. At the MATLAB command prompt, enter the following command:

    downloadImage(dev,'BoardName',DeviceName, ...
    • dev — Radio object created using the sdrdev function in Step 2. Set Up Support Package in MATLAB.

    • DeviceName — Name of the Zynq radio hardware, specified as a character vector.

      If dev is a radio object interfacing an AD936x-based radio hardware, specify the board name as one of these options:

      • 'ADI RF SOM'

      • 'ZC706 and FMCOMMS2/3/4'

      • 'ZCU102 and FMCOMMS2/3/4'

      • 'ZedBoard and FMCOMMS2/3/4'

      If dev is a radio object interfacing an FMCOMMS5 radio hardware, specify the board name as 'ZC706 and FMCOMMS5'.

    • SDCardDrive — Name of the SD card drive on the host computer, specified as a character vector. For example, '/media/F8FF-1F5F' or 'S:'

    For example:

    dev = sdrdev('AD936x');
    downloadImage(dev,'BoardName','ADI RF SOM', ...

Step 5. Connect Radio Hardware

 Connect ADI RF SOM Radio Hardware

 Connect ZC706 Radio Hardware and FMCOMMS2/3/4

 Connect ZC706 Radio Hardware and FMCOMMS5

 Connect ZCU102 Radio Hardware

 Connect ZedBoard Radio Hardware

Step 6. Verify Radio Hardware Setup

Before you can verify the setup, you must start the radio hardware properly. Wait until the radio hardware is ready as indicated in the previous step.

Check host-radio communication by calling the testConnection function. When calling testConnection, use the radio object that you created in Step 2. Set Up Support Package in MATLAB and the host IP address that you configured in Step 3. Configure Host Computer.


Successful Connection

If the function displays All tests PASSED, then the host is communicating successfully with the radio hardware.

Continue with one of the following options.

Unsuccessful Connection

If the function returns a timeout or other error, then the host is not communicating with the radio hardware.

For example:

Warning: There was no response from the hardware. Read the 
documentation on how to diagnose connectivity issues.
 - Ensure the host and hardware are physically connected via GigE.
 - Ensure the host NIC is configured properly.
 - Check that the IPAddress of the hardware is specified correctly.

Return to Step 5. Connect Radio Hardware. Before calling the info function, make sure that the radio hardware is properly connected to the host. If you still have trouble, check Common Problems and Fixes.

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