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This paper presents a software-based instrument for testing and monitoring the behavior of complex communications systems that employ a number of interconnected DSPs. The instrument is based on a dynamic architecture that incorporates a set of distributed software probes for signal capturing and a central data acquisition unit for acquiring and post-processing of data. A high-level application that is executed on a host computing machine enables command and control of the instrument's mode of operation and performs the necessary post-processing for the analysis and visualization of the measurements data. The application of this approach in the design and development of a DVB-S2 receiver using a software-radio platform is presented.
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