USRP X410 Getting Started Guide

From Ettus Knowledge Base
Revision as of 22:03, 8 July 2021 by DylanCaswell (Talk | contribs)

Jump to: navigation, search

Kit Contents


  • NI Ettus USRP X410
  • DC Power Supply (12V, 20A)
  • 1 Gigabit Ethernet Cat-5e Cable (3m)
  • USB-A to USB-C Cable (1m)
  • Getting Started Guide URL (QR Code)
  • Safety, Environmental, and Regulatory Information

You Will Need

  • For Network Mode: A host computer with an available 1 or 10 Gigabit Ethernet interface for sample streaming. In addition to the Ethernet interface used for sampling streaming, your host computer will require a separate 1 Gigabit Ethernet interface for command and control streaming.
  • For Stand-Alone Embedded Mode: A host computer with an available 1 Gigabit Ethernet port or a USB 2.0 port to remotely access the embedded Linux operating system running on ARM CPU.

Proper Care and Handling

All Ettus Research products are individually tested before shipment. The USRP is guaranteed to be functional at the time it is received by the customer. Improper use or handling of the USRP can cause the device to become non-functional. Take the following precautions to prevent damage to the unit.

  • Never allow metal objects to touch the circuit board while powered.
  • Always properly terminate the transmit port with an antenna or 50Ω load.
  • Always handle the board with proper anti-static methods.
  • Never allow the board to directly or indirectly come into contact with any voltage spikes.
  • Never allow any water or condensing moisture to come into contact with the device.
  • Always use caution with FPGA, firmware, or software modifications.
Never apply more than +14 dBm continuous <=3GHz, +17 dBm continuous >3GHz, or +20dBm more than 5 minutes >3GHz of power into any RF input.
Always use at least 30dB attenuation if operating in loopback configuration

Install and Setup the Software Tools on Your Host Computer

In order to use your Universal Software Radio Peripheral (USRP™), you must have the software tools correctly installed and configured on your host computer. A step-by-step guide for doing this is available at the Building and Installing the USRP Open-Source Toolchain (UHD and GNU Radio) on Linux, OS X and Windows Application Notes.

To find the latest release of UHD, see the UHD repository at

The USRP X410 requires UHD version 4.1 or later.

When you receive a brand-new device, it is strongly recommended that you download the latest filesystem image from the Ettus Research website update the unit. It is not recommended that you use the filesystem from the factory as-is. Instructions on downloading the latest filesystem image and updating it is listed below.

Note that if you are operating the device in Network Mode, the version of UHD running on the host computer and the USRP X410 must match.

Assembling the X410

Inside the kit you will find the X410 and an X410 power supply. Plug these in, connect the 1GbE RJ45 interface to your network, and power on the device by pressing the power button.

The STM32 Microcontroller

The STM32 microcontroller (also referred to as the "SCU") controls various low-level features of the X4x0 series motherboard: It controls the power sequencing, reads out fan speeds and some of the temperature sensors. It is connected to the RFSoC via an I2C bus. It is running software based on Chromium EC.

It is possible to log into the STM32 using the serial interface (see Connecting to the Microcontroller). This will allow certain low-level controls, such as remote power cycling should the CPU have become unresponsive for whatever reason.

Updating the SCU

The writable SCU image file is stored on the filesystem under /lib/firmware/ni/ec-titanium-revX.RW.bin (where X is a revision compatibility number). To update, simply replace the .bin file with the updated version and reboot.

eMMC Storage

The main non-volatile storage of the USRP is a 16 GB eMMC storage. This storage can be made accessible as a USB Mass Storage device through the USB-OTG connector on the back panel.

The entire root file system (Linux kernel, libraries) and any user data are stored on the eMMC. It is partitioned into four partitions:

Boot partition (contains the bootloader). This partition usually does not require modification. A data partition, mounted in /data. This is the only partition that is not erased during file system updates. Two identical system partitions (root file systems). These contain the operating system and the home directory (anything mounted under / that is not the data or boot partition). The reason there are two of these is to enable remote updates: An update running on one partition can update the other one without any effect to the currently running system. Note that the system partitions are erased during updates and are thus unsuitable for permanently storing information. Note: It is possible to access the currently inactive root file system by mounting it. After logging into the device using serial console or SSH (see the following two sections), run the following commands:

$ mkdir temp

$ mount /dev/mmcblk0p3 temp # This assumes mmcblk0p3 is currently not mounted

$ ls temp # You are now accessing the idle partition:

bin data etc lib media proc sbin tmp usr boot dev home lost+found mnt run sys uboot var

The device node in the mount command might differ, depending on which partition is currently already mounted.

USB Access to eMMC

While Mender should be used for routine filesystem updates (see Updating Filesystems), it is also possible to access the X410's internal eMMC from an external host over USB. This allows accessing or modifying the filesystem, as well as the ability to flash the device with an entirely new filesystem.

In order to do so, you'll need an external computer with two USB ports, and two USB cables to connect the computer to your X410. The instructions below assume a Linux host.

First, connect to the APU serial console at a baud rate of 115200. Boot the device, and stop the boot sequence by typing noautoboot at the prompt. Then, run the following command in the U-boot command prompt:

ums 0 mmc 0

This will start the USB mass storage gadget to expose the eMMC as a USB mass storage device. You should see a spinning indicator on the console, which indicates the gadget is active.

Next, connect your external computer to the X410's USB to PS port using an OTG cable. Your computer should recognize the X410 as a mass storage device, and you should see an entry in your kernel logs (dmesg) that looks like this:

usb 3-1: New USB device found, idVendor=3923, idProduct=7a7d, bcdDevice= 2.23

usb 3-1: New USB device strings: Mfr=1, Product=2, SerialNumber=0

usb 3-1: Product: USB download gadget

usb 3-1: Manufacturer: National Instruments

sd 6:0:0:0: [sdc] 30932992 512-byte logical blocks: (15.8 GB/14.8 GiB)

sdc: sdc1 sdc2 sdc3 sdc4

sd 6:0:0:0: [sdc] Attached SCSI removable disk

The exact output will depend on your machine, but from this log you can see that the X410 was recognized and /dev/sdc is the block device representing the eMMC, with 4 partitions detected (see eMMC Storage for details on the partition layout).

It is now possible to treat the X410's eMMC as you would any other USB drive: the individual partitions can be mounted and accessed, or the entire block device can be read/written.

Once you're finished accessing the device over USB, the u-boot gadget may be stopped by hitting Ctrl-C at the APU serial console.

Flashing the eMMC

Once the X410's eMMC is accessible over USB, it's possible to write the filesystem image using bmaptool. You can obtain the latest filesystem image by running:

uhd_images_downloader -t sdimg -t x4xx

The output of this command will indicate where the downloaded image can be found.


sudo bmaptool /path/to/usrp_x4xx_fs.sdimg.bz2 /dev/sdX

to flash the eMMC with this image (replacing /dev/sdX with the block device of the X410's eMMC as indicated by your kernel log).

Using a USRP X4x0 from UHD

Like any other USRP, all X4x0 USRPs are controlled by the UHD software. To integrate a USRP X4x0 into your C++ application, you would generate a UHD device in the same way you would for any other USRP:

auto usrp = uhd::usrp::multi_usrp::make("type=x4xx");

For a list of which arguments can be passed into make(), see Section Device Arguments.

Updating Filesystems

Mender is a third-party software that enables remote updating of the root file system without physically accessing the device (see also the Mender website). Mender can be executed locally on the device, or a Mender server can be set up which can be used to remotely update an arbitrary number of USRP devices. Mender servers can be self-hosted, or hosted by Mender (see for pricing and availability).

When updating the file system using Mender, the tool will overwrite the root file system partition that is not currently mounted (note: the onboard flash storage contains two separate root file system partitions, only one is ever used at a single time). Any data stored on that partition will be permanently lost, including the currently loaded FPGA image. After updating that partition, it will reboot into the newly updated partition. Only if the update is confirmed by the user, the update will be made permanent. This means that if an update fails, the device will be always able to reboot into the partition from which the update was originally launched (which presumably is in a working state). Another update can be launched now to correct the previous, failed update, until it works.

To initiate an update from the device itself, download a Mender artifact containing the update itself. These are files with a .mender suffix. They can be downloaded by using the uhd_images_downloader utility:

$ uhd_images_downloader -t mender -t x4xx

Append the -l switch to print out the URLs only:

$ uhd_images_downloader -t mender -t x4xx -l Then run mender on the command line:

$ mender install /path/to/latest.mender

The artifact can also be stored on a remote server:

$ mender install

This procedure will take a while. If the new filesystem requires an update to the MB CPLD, see Updating the Motherboard CPLD before proceeding. After mender has logged a successful update, reboot the device:

$ reboot

If the reboot worked, and the device seems functional, commit the changes so the boot loader knows to permanently boot into this partition:

$ mender commit

To identify the currently installed Mender artifact from the command line, the following file can be queried:

$ cat /etc/mender/artifact_info

If you are running a hosted server, the updates can be initiated from a web dashboard. From there, you can start the updates without having to log into the device, and can update groups of USRPs with a few clicks in a web GUI. The dashboard can also be used to inspect the state of USRPs. This is a simple way to update groups of rack-mounted USRPs with custom file systems.

Network Interfaces

The Ettus USRP X410 has various network interfaces:

eth0: RJ45 port.

The RJ45 port comes up with a default configuration of DHCP, that will request a network address from your DHCP server (if available on your network). This interface is agnostic of FPGA image flavor.

int0: internal interface for network communication between the embedded ARM processor and FPGA.

The internal network interface is configured with a static address: This interface is agnostic of FPGA image flavor.

sfpX [, sfpX_1, sfpX_2, sfpX_3]: QSFP28 network interface(s), up-to four (one per lane) based on implemented protocol.

Each QSFP28 port has four high-speed transceiver lanes. Therefore, depending on the FPGA image flavor, up-to four different network interfaces may exist per QSFP28 port, using the sfpXfor the first lane, and sfpX_1-3 for the other three lanes. Each network interface has a default static IP address. Note that for multi-lane protocols, such as 100 GbE, a single interface is used (sfpX). The configuration files for these network interfaces are stored in: /etc/systemd/network/

Interface Name Description Default Configuration Configuration File Example: X4_200 FPGA image
int0 Internal
sfp0 QSFP28 0 (4-lanes interface or lane 0)
sfp0_1 QSFP28 0 (lane 1)
sfp0_2 QSFP28 0 (lane 2)
sfp0_3 QSFP28 0 (lane 3)
sfp1 QSFP28 1 (4-lanes interface or lane 0) N/C
sfp1_1 QSFP28 1 (lane 1) N/C
sfp1_2 QSFP28 1 (lane 2) N/C
sfp1_3 QSFP28 1 (lane 3) N/C

Network Connectivity

Once the X410 has booted, determine the IP address and verify network connectivity by running uhd_find_devices on the host computer:

$ uhd_find_devices

-- UHD Device 0

Device Address: serial: 1234ABC addr: claimed: False mgmt_addr: product: x410 type: x4xx

By default, an X410 will use DHCP to attempt to find an address.

At this point, you should run:

uhd_usrp_probe --args addr=<IP address> to ensure functionality of the device.

Note: If you receive the following error:

Error: RuntimeError: Graph edge list is empty for rx channel 0 then you will need to download a UHD-compatible FPGA as described in Updating the FPGA or using the following command (it assumes that FPGA images have been downloaded previously using uhd_images_downloader, or that the command is run on the device itself):

uhd_image_loader --args type=x4xx,addr=<ip address>,fpga=X4_200 When running on the device, use as the IP address.

You can now use existing UHD examples or applications (such as rx_sample_to_file, rx_ascii_art_dft, or tx_waveforms) or other UHD-compatible applications to start receiving and transmitting with the device.

See Network Interfaces for further details on the various network interfaces available on the X410.

Network Status LEDs

The Ettus USRP X410 is equipped with status LEDs for its network-capable ports: RJ45 and QSFP28s, see RJ45 LED Behavior and QSFP28 LED Behavior accordingly.

RJ45 LED Behavior

The RJ45 port has two independent LEDs: green (right) and yellow (left). The table below summarizes the LEDs' behavior. Note that link speed indication is not currently supported.

Link / Activity Green LED Yellow LED No Link Off Off Link / No Activity On Off Link / Activity On Blinking

QSFP28 LED Behavior

Each QSFP28 connector has four LEDs, one for each high-speed transceiver lane. The table below summarizes the LEDs' behavior, note that for multi-lane protocols, such as 100 GbE, the corresponding LEDs are ganged together. Within the same image, multiple speeds on the same port (e.g., both 10 GbE and 100 GbE) are not supported, therefore link speed indication is not supported.

Link / Activity QSFP28 LED (4 total) No Link Off Link / No Activity Green (solid) Link / Activity Amber (blinking)

Security-related Settings

The X410 ships without a root password set. It is possible to ssh into the device by simply connecting as root, and thus gaining access to all subsystems. To set a password, run the command

$ passwd on the device.

Serial Connection

It is possible to gain access to the device using a serial terminal emulator. To do so, the USB debug port needs to be connected to a separate computer to gain access. Most Linux, OSX, or other Unix flavors have a tool called 'screen' which can be used for this purpose, by running the following command:

$ sudo screen /dev/ttyUSB2 115200 In this command, we prepend 'sudo' to elevate user privileges (by default, accessing serial ports is not available to regular users), we specify the device node (in this case, /dev/ttyUSB2), and the baud rate (115200).

The exact device node depends on your operating system's driver and other USB devices that might be already connected. Modern Linux systems offer alternatives to simply trying device nodes; instead, the OS might have a directory of symlinks under /dev/serial/by-id:

$ ls /dev/serial/by-id usb-Digilent_Digilent_USB_Device_2516351DDCC0-if02-port0 usb-Digilent_Digilent_USB_Device_2516351DDCC0-if03-port0

Note: Exact names depend on the host operating system version and may differ.

The first (with the if02 suffix) connects to the STM32 microcontroller (SCU), whereas the second (with the if03 suffix) connects to Linux running on the RFSoC APU.

$ sudo screen /dev/serial/by-id/usb-Digilent_Digilent_USB_Device_2516351DDCC0-if03-port0 115200 After entering the username root (no password is set by default), you should be presented with a shell prompt similar to the following:

root@ni-x4xx-1234ABC:~# On this prompt, you can enter any Linux command available. Using the default configuration, the serial console will also show all kernel log messages (unlike when using SSH, for example), and give access to the boot loader (U-boot prompt). This can be used to debug kernel or bootloader issues more efficiently than when logged in via SSH.

Connecting to the Microcontroller

The microcontroller (which controls the power sequencing, among other things) also has a serial console available. To connect to the microcontroller, use the other UART device. In the example above:

$ sudo screen /dev/serial/by-id/usb-Digilent_Digilent_USB_Device_2516351DDCC0-if02-port0 115200 It provides a very simple prompt. The command 'help' will list all available commands. A direct connection to the microcontroller can be used to hard-reset the device without physically accessing it and other low-level diagnostics. For example, running the command reboot will emulate a reset button press, resetting the state of the device, while the command powerbtn will emulate a power button press, turning the device back on again.

SSH Connection

The USRP X410 has two network connections: The dual QSFP28 ports, and an RJ45 connector. The latter is by default configured by DHCP; by plugging it into into 1 Gigabit switch on a DHCP-capable network, it will get assigned an IP address and thus be accessible via ssh.

In case your network setup does not include a DHCP server, refer to the section Serial Connection. A serial login can be used to assign an IP address manually.

After the device obtained an IP address you can log in from a Linux or OSX machine by typing:

$ ssh root@ni-x4xx-1234ABC # Replace with your actual device name! Depending on your network setup, using a .local domain may work:

$ ssh root@ni-x4xx-1234ABC.local Of course, you can also connect to the IP address directly if you know it (or set it manually using the serial console).

Note: The device's hostname is derived from its serial number by default (ni-x4xx-$SERIAL). You can change the hostname by modifying the /etc/hostname file and rebooting.

On Microsoft Windows, the connection can be established using a tool such as PuTTY, by selecting a username of root without password.

Like with the serial console, you should be presented with a prompt like the following:


Updating the FPGA

The FPGA can be updated simply using uhd_image_loader:

uhd_image_loader --args type=x4xx,addr=<IP address of device> --fpga-path <path to .bit> or

uhd_image_loader --args type=x4xx,addr=<IP address of device>,fpga=FPGA_TYPE A UHD install will likely have pre-built images in /usr/share/uhd/images/. Up-to-date images can be downloaded using the uhd_images_downloader script:

uhd_images_downloader will download images into /usr/share/uhd/images/ (the path may differ, depending on how UHD was installed).

Also note that the USRP already ships with compatible FPGA images on the device - these images can be loaded by SSH'ing into the device and running:

uhd_image_loader --args type=x4xx,mgmt_addr=,fpga=X4_200

FPGA Image Flavors

Unlike the USRP X310 or other third-generation USRP devices, the FPGA image flavors do not only encode how the QSFP28 connectors are configured, but also which master clock rates are available. This is because the data converter configuration is part of the FPGA image (the ADCs/DACs on the X410 are on the same die as the FPGA). The image flavors consist of two short strings, separated by an underscore, e.g. X4_200 is an image flavor which contains 4x 10 GbE, and can handle an analog bandwidth of 200 MHz. The first two characters describe the configuration of the QSFP28 ports: 'X' stands for 10 GbE, 'C' stands for 100 GbE. See the following table for more details.

FPGA Image Flavor QSFP28 Port 0 Interface QSFP28 Port 1 Interface X1_100 1x 10 GbE (Lane 0) N/C X4_{100, 200} 4x 10 GbE N/C XG_{100, 200} 1x 10 GbE (Lane 0) 1x 10 GbE (Lane 0) X4_{100, 200} 4x 10 GbE (All Lanes) N/C X4C_{100, 200} 4x 10 GbE (All Lanes) 100 GbE C1_400 100 GbE N/C CG_{100, 400} 100 GbE 100 GbE

The analog bandwidth determines the available master clock rates. As of UHD 4.1, only the X4_200 image is shipped with UHD, which allows a 245.76 MHz or 250 MHz master clock rate. The other images are considered experimental (unsupported).

Device Arguments

Key Description Example Value addr IPv4 address of primary SFP+ port to connect to. addr= second_addr IPv4 address of secondary SFP+ port to connect to. second_addr= mgmt_addr IPv4 address or hostname to which to connect the RPC client. Defaults to `addr'. mgmt_addr=ni-sulfur-311FE00 find_all When using broadcast, find all devices, even if unreachable via CHDR. find_all=1 master_clock_rate Master Clock Rate in Hz. master_clock_rate=250e6 serialize_init Force serial initialization of daughterboards. serialize_init=1 skip_init Skip the initialization process for the device. skip_init=1 time_source Specify the time (PPS) source. time_source=internal clock_source Specify the reference clock source. clock_source=internal ref_clk_freq Specify the external reference clock frequency, default is 10 MHz. ref_clk_freq=20e6 discovery_port Override default value for MPM discovery port. discovery_port=49700 rpc_port Override default value for MPM RPC port. rpc_port=49701 GPS The USRP X410 includes a Jackson Labs LTE-Lite GPS module. Its antenna port is on the rear panel (see Front and Back Panels). When the X410 has access to GPS satellite signals, it can use this module to read out the current GPS time and location as well as to discipline an onboard OCXO.

To use the GPS as a clock and time reference, simply use gpsdo as a clock or time source. Alternatively, set gpsdo as a synchronization source:

// Set clock/time individually: usrp->set_clock_source("gpsdo"); usrp->set_time_source("gpsdo"); // This is equivalent to the previous commands, but faster, as it sets // both settings simultaneously and avoids duplicating settings that are shared // between these calls. usrp->set_sync_source("clock_source=gpsdo,time_source=gpsdo");

Note the GPS module is not always enabled. Its power-on status can be queried using the gps_enabled GPS sensor (see also The Sensor API). When disabled, none of the sensors will return useful (if any) values.

When selecting gpsdo as a clock source, the GPS will always be enabled. Note that acquiring a GPS lock can take some time after enabling the GPS, so if a UHD application is enabling the GPS dynamically, it might take some time before a GPS lock is reported.

Front-Panel Programmable GPIOs

The USRP X410 has two HDMI front-panel connectors, which are connected to the FPGA.

Support for using these with UHD is not yet available.

Subdev Specifications

The RF ports on the front panel of the X410 + ZBX correspond to the following subdev specifications:

Label Subdev Spec DB 0 / RF 0 A:0 DB 0 / RF 1 A:1 DB 1 / RF 0 B:0 DB 1 / RF 1 B:1 The subdev spec slot identifiers "A" and "B" are not reflected on the front panel. They were set to match valid subdev specifications of previous USRPs, maintaining backward compatibility.

These values can be used for uhd::usrp::multi_usrp::set_rx_subdev_spec() and uhd::usrp::multi_usrp::set_tx_subdev_spec() as with other USRPs.

Rear Panel Status LEDs

The USRP X410 is equipped with four LEDs located on the device's rear panel. Each LED supports four different states: Off, Green, Red, and Amber. One LED (PWR) indicates the device's power state (see Power LED below). The other three LEDs (LED 0, LED 1, and LED 2) are user-configurable, different behaviors are supported for each of these LEDs (see User-configurable LEDs below).

x4xx rearpanel status leds.png

X4x0 Rear Panel Status LEDs

Power LED The USRP X410's PWR LED is reserved to visually indicate the user the device's power state. Power LED Behavior describes what each LED state represents.

Power LED Behavior

PWR LED State Meaning Off No power is applied Amber Power is good but X410 is powered off Green Power is good and X410 is powered on Red Power error state

User-configurable LEDs

The USRP X410's user-configurable rear panel status LEDs (LED 0, LED 1, and LED 2) allow the user to have visual indication of various device conditions. Supported LED Behaviors provides a complete list of the supported behaviors for each user-configurable LED. By default, these LEDs are configured as described in LEDs Default Behavior.

The user may alter the default LEDs behavior either temporarily or persistently, see the Temporarily change the LED Behavior or Persistently in the UHD manual to change the LED Behavior accordingly.

Technical Support and Community Knowledge Base

Technical support for USRP hardware is available through email only. If the product arrived in a non­functional state or you require technical assistance, please contact Please allow 24 to 48 hours for response by email, depending on holidays and weekends, although we are often able to reply more quickly than that.

We also recommend that you subscribe to the community mailing lists. The mailing lists have a responsive and knowledgeable community of hundreds of developers and technical users who are located around the world. When you join the community, you will be connected to this group of people who can help you learn about SDR and respond to your technical and specific questions. Often your question can be answered quickly on the mailing lists. Each mailing list also provides an archive of all past conversations and discussions going back many years. Your question or problem may have already been addressed before, and a relevant or helpful solution may already exist in the archive.

Discussions involving the USRP hardware and the UHD software itself are best addressed through the u​srp­-users ​mailing list at

Discussions involving the use of GNU Radio with USRP hardware and UHD software are best addressed through the d​iscuss­-gnuradio​ mailing list at­gnuradio​.

Discussions involving the use of OpenBTS® with USRP hardware and UHD software are best addressed through the o​penbts­-discuss​ mailing list at­discuss​.​

The support page on our website is located at​. The Knowledge Base is located at ​​.

Legal Considerations

Every country has laws governing the transmission and reception of radio signals. Users are solely responsible for insuring they use their USRP system in compliance with all applicable laws and regulations. Before attempting to transmit and/or receive on any frequency, we recommend that you determine what licenses may be required and what restrictions may apply.

  • NOTE: This USRP product is a piece of test equipment.

Sales and Ordering Support

If you have any non­-technical questions related to your order, then please contact us by email at​, or by phone at +1­408­610­6399 (Monday-Friday, 8 AM - 5 PM, Pacific Time). Please be sure to include your order number and the serial number of your USRP.

Terms and Conditions of Sale

Terms and conditions of sale can be accessed online at the following link: