Communications Toolbox


Communications Toolbox

Design and simulate the physical layer of communications systems


Communications Toolbox™ provides algorithms and apps for the analysis, design, end-to-end simulation, and verification of communications systems. Toolbox algorithms including channel coding, modulation, MIMO, and OFDM enable you to compose and simulate a physical layer model of your standard-based or custom-designed wireless communications system.

The toolbox provides a waveform generator app, constellation and eye diagrams, bit-error-rate, and other analysis tools and scopes for validating your designs. These tools enable you to generate and analyze signals, visualize channel characteristics, and obtain performance metrics such as error vector magnitude (EVM). The toolbox includes SISO and MIMO statistical and spatial channel models. Channel profile options include Rayleigh, Rician, and WINNER II models. It also includes RF impairments, including RF nonlinearity and carrier offset and compensation algorithms, including carrier and symbol timing synchronizers. These algorithms enable you to realistically model link-level specifications and compensate for the effects of channel degradations. 

Using Communications Toolbox with RF instruments or hardware support packages, you can connect your transmitter and receiver models to radio devices and verify your designs with over-the-air testing.

End-to-End Simulation

Simulate link-level models of communications systems. Explore what-if scenarios and evaluate system parameter tradeoffs. Obtain expected (e.g., BER, PER, BLER, and throughput) measures of performance.

Modulation and Channel Coding

Specify system components for channel coding (including convolutional, turbo, LDPC, and TPC), modulation (including OFDM, QAM, APSK), scrambling, interleaving, and filtering.

RF satellite link.

Receiver Design and Synchronization

Model and simulate front-end receiver and synchronization components including AGC, I/Q imbalance correction, DC blocking, and timing and carrier synchronization.

Correct frequency offset QAM using coarse and fine synchronization.

Link-Level Performance Metrics

Characterize link-level performance with BER, BLER, PER, and throughput measures.

Estimating LDPC performance in an AWGN channel.

Channel Modeling

Characterize effects of noise, fading, and interference model RF impairments. Account for path loss due to free space and atmospheric effects.

Noise and Fading Channels

Simulate channel noise and fading models, including AWGN, multipath Rayleigh fading, Rician fading, and WINNER II spatial channel models.

Multiple fading channels with WINNER II channel model.

RF Impairments 

Model effects of RF impairments, including nonlinearity, phase noise, I/Q imbalance, thermal noise, and phase and frequency offsets.

End-to-end QAM simulation with RF impairments.

Waveform Generation

Generate a variety of customizable or standard-based physical layer waveforms. Use the Wireless Waveform Generator app to create test signals. Use waveforms as golden references for your designs.

Wireless Waveform Generator App

Generate, impair, visualize, and export modulated waveforms (including OFDM, QAM, PSK, and WLAN 802.11).

Generation, visualization, and exporting waveforms, and applying RF impairments.

Standards-Based Waveforms

Generate waveforms compliant with various standards including, DVB, MIL-STD 188, television and FM broadcasting, ZigBee®, NFC, WPAN 802.15.4, cdma2000, and 1xEV-DO signals. 

DVB-S.2 link, including LDPC coding.

MIMO Processing

Boost system performance with MIMO and massive MIMO multiple antenna techniques. Characterize MIMO receivers and channels.

MIMO Techniques

Simulate the effects of massive MIMO hybrid beamforming. You can also perform transmit and receive diversity, and simulate effects of space-time block coding and spatial multiplexing on system performance.

Massive MIMO hybrid beamforming.

MIMO Channels and Receivers

Apply MIMO multipath fading and WINNER II spatial channel modeling, and model MIMO receiver components, including MIMO channel estimation and equalization.

Multi-user MIMO with WINNER II channel model.

Visualization and Analysis

Analyze system response to the noise and interference, study its behavior, and determine whether the resulting performance meets requirements.

Signal Visualizations

Use Constellation Diagram and Eye Diagram scopes to visualize the effects of various impairments and corrections.

Visualizing and measuring signals with Eye and Constellation diagrams.

Signal Measurements

Compute standard measurements (including EVM, ACPR, ACLR, MER, CCDF, eye height, jitter, rise time, fall time) for quantitatively characterizing system performance.

EVM measurements for a ZigBee system.

Software-Defined Radio

Connect your transmitter and receiver models to radio devices and verify your designs via over-the-air transmission and reception.

Supported Radios

Connect your waveforms to a variety of supported software-defined radios (SDRs) including ADALM® Pluto®, RTL-SDR, USRP® and Xilinx® Zynq®-based radios.

Transmitters and Receivers

Process captured or live over-the-air wireless signals for applications including airplane tracking with ADS-B Signals, automatic meter reading, FM broadcasting with RBDS, and FRS/GMRS receiver.

Processing captured SDR signals for spectrum sensing.


Significantly speed up simulations of your communications systems using C-code generation, GPU-optimized algorithms, or parallel processing. 

C-Code Generation

Speed up processing by using C/C++ executables automatically generated from your models.

Simulation acceleration with MATLAB Coder.

GPU-Optimized Algorithms

Use graphics processing unit (GPU) hardware for compute-intensive algorithms including Turbo, LDPC, Viterbi, and convolutional encoding and decoding.

DVB-S.2 simulation with a GPU-based LDPC decoder.

Parallel Processing

Compute different iterations of your algorithm concurrently on many available MATLAB workers. Leverage your multicore computer, server farms, and the Amazon® EC2 web service.

Accelerating BER simulations with parallel computing. 

PHY and MAC Cosimulation

Model and simulate combined physical layer (PHY) and medium access control layer (MAC) processing.

Packetized Communications

Model and simulate packetized modems, including data link layer processing with ALOHA or CSMA/CA MAC algorithms.

Standards-Based MAC Frames

Generate and decode MAC frames for various standards including ZigBee (IEEE® 802.15.4) and NFC.

ZigBee MAC frame generation and decoding.

Latest Features

Instrument connectivity in Wireless Waveform Generator App

Transmit wireless waveforms over-the-air with RF instruments (requires Instrument Control Toolbox)

Updated standards support in Wireless Waveform Generator App

Generate LTE RMC waveforms (requires LTE Toolbox) and WLAN 802.11ax signals (requires WLAN Toolbox)

Digital pre-distortion (DPD) coefficient estimator and signal compensator


Modulation classification example using deep learning


Terrestrial link budget example


See the release notes for details on any of these features and corresponding functions.

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