GNU Radio is a free software development toolkit that provides the signal processing runtime and processing blocks to implement software radios using readily-available, low-cost external RF hardware and commodity processors. It is widely used in hobbyist, academic and commercial environments to support wireless communications research as well as to implement real-world radio systems.

GNU Radio applications are primarily written using the Python programming language, while the supplied, performance-critical signal processing path is implemented in C++ using processor floating point extensions where available. Thus, the developer is able to implement real-time, high-throughput radio systems in a simple-to-use, rapid-application-development environment.

While not primarily a simulation tool, GNU Radio does support development of signal processing algorithms using pre-recorded or generated data, avoiding the need for actual RF hardware.