ADALM-PLUTO by Analog Devices

Learning software-defined radio usually requires a lab with expensive test equipment. The ADALM-PLUTO by Analog Devices provides a compact and affordable kit for self-paced or instructor-led learning in software-defined radio classes 

Analog Devices uses a simple, yet effective architecture for the training device which comes in a plastic box with two protruding antennas: one is connected to the transmitter, while the other plays the role of the receiver.  

ADALM-PLUTO – learn SDR basics without expensive test equipment

The data sheet reveals that the main processing element is an FPGA from Xilinx (now owned by AMD) – in theory, the ADALM-PLUTO can be used as an FPGA training board without the added benefits of the RF subsystem. 

ADALM-PLUTO open source software

In today’s development environment, embedded software can be more challenging than the Electrical Engineering task required to produce the hardware intended to run the code. The PLUTO-SDR addresses this via a fully open-source operating system environment. In addition to that, the URL provides a range of self-paced course materials intended to teach more about various aspects of the device.  

ADALM-PLUTO open source software

One tutorial uses the Analog Devices IIO oscilloscope to emulate this piece of test equipment using a computer and the evaluation board – those seeking further information (or a completely custom oscilloscope with custom decoders) can find out more by visiting

ADALM-PLUTO pricing and availability

Given that Analog Devices intends that the ADALM-PLUTO be used as a teaching aid, its integration as a “single board computer” of sorts is unlikely to be appreciated by the vendor. Nevertheless, the price span for the board varies quite widely – and a quick comparison shows distributors like Arrow and RF specialists Richardson RFPD tend to price favourably. 

Given that the board costs more than 200 EUR, usage as SBC is unlikely. This, of course, is beneficial for academia – there is no need to worry about a lack of available stock 


Ham radio or SDR enthusiasts and students alike can use the ADALM-PLUTO to quickly study both basic and advanced RF and microwave engineering. Thanks to the provided class materials, study can be accomplished without the purchase of additional engineering textbooks.