As Software-defined radios (SDRs) are being more widely deployed, test and measurement instruments are ramping up to be able to test SDRs in a way that was not possible before. The market is moving so fast, manufacturers need to be able to react quickly.
In many cases, the products and protocols under test are evolving or still being defined until very late in the product development life-cycle. Supporting all the changes in hardware is very expensive and far too slow. In fact, traditional tester are often obsolete by the time they are brought to market. Software-defined testers (also known as virtual instruments) provide the level of flexibility required to adjust as the standards and protocols evolve. Furthermore, next generation software-defined instruments allow engineers to peak inside the radios to monitor and alter internal signals of the waveform. Not being constrained to the antenna port (i.e black box testing) provides an unprecedented way of testing and qualifying radios.
The Software Communications Architecture (SCA) follows a Component Based Development (CBD) paradigm that provides a framework for software components reuse that is highly suited for the EW domain.