Josh Blum edited this page Jun 22, 2016 · 31 revisions

Welcome to the SoapySDR project



SoapySDR is an open-source generalized C/C++ API and runtime library for interfacing with SDR devices. With SoapySDR, you can instantiate, configure, and stream with an SDR device in a variety of environments. Both osmosdr and uhd devices are available within SoapySDR. In addition, vendors can directly support their hardware using SoapySDR device modules. There are wrappers for both gr-osmosdr, uhd, and gr-uhd to bring an ecosystem of existing applications to SoapySDR devices. And SoapySDR has support for powerful platforms like GNU Radio and Pothos.



There are a family of devices known as SDRs with RF frontends, ADCs, DACs, and a PC interface. The project goal is to support this general type of device known as SDR. SoapySDR is not intended to be a generalized hardware abstraction library. Doing so would be overwhelming and prevent the project from ever being released.

Vendor neutral

SoapySDR is not tied to any particular SDR hardware vendor. We try to generalize the SoapySDR API to support most devices out there, while providing hooks for users to access vendor-specific funtionalities.

Platform independent

SoapySDR is not specific to any particular SDR platform. We wrote SoapySDR to help platform creators interface with SDRs without getting lost in the details of a given device.

Plugin architecture

SoapySDR supports SDR devices through runtime-loadable modules. This allows users to build and install device support against an existing SoapySDR installation without disturbing the existing installation or requiring recompilation of the platform. This allows vendors to maintain a SoapySDR module along with their driver build package.

Licence friendly

The SoapySDR library is released under a permissive free software license. This makes SoapySDR applicable for both open-source projects and commercial uses. Regardless of SoapySDR licensing, please respect the licensing of platform and vendor software.

Remote access

Use any SoapySDR supported device transparently over a local network link. The remote support feature can turn any SDR into a network peripheral, to work around software-related issues, to share a device among multiple computers, or to ease embedded device development. Learn more on the remote access wiki.

Using SoapySDR


SoapySDR itself has very few dependencies. To build SoapySDR, the only dependencies are a C++ compiler and CMake. However, individual vendor dependencies may vary widely. Also, the optional Python bindings include some additional dependencies.


  • Soapy SDR binaries for your system may available from Pothos downloads.
  • Or follow the build guide to compile and install Soapy SDR from source.

Client API

The client API is what users and platform maintainers write their code with to use a SDR device.

Example code:

Driver API

The driver API is what vendors write their hardware support modules with. See the Driver Guide for more details. To support hardware in SoapySDR, simply do the following:

  • Copy the ExampleDriver into your devices's build tree
  • Rename the "MyDevice" files and classes for your product
  • Implement overloads for a custom SoapySDR::Device class
  • Implement the discovery function to locate devices on the system
  • Implement the factory function to instantiate the device object


SoapySDR is supposed to be a useful tool for vendors and users alike. And therefore we need your feedback, suggestions, and criticisms. Feel free to leave a ticket on the issue tracker, send an email to a public forum like osmosdr list, or the Pothos users' group.

Example platforms

Your platform here

Use SoapySDR to bring SDR support into your platform or application.


We have created a vendor neutral gr-sdr component to mainline into GNU Radio. This will make it easy for GNU Radio developers to maintain the component, and vendors can continue updating modules and supporting new hardware.

Pothos SDR

The Pothos data flow project uses SoapySDR for its SDR source and sink blocks.