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Communications Toolbox Support Package for RTL-SDR Radio

Acquire RF data using RTL-SDR.


Updated 10 Mar 2021

Editor's Note: Popular File 2018

This file was selected as MATLAB Central Pick of the Week

This support package is currently unable to download third-party software for MATLAB R2017a and earlier versions. For details and workaround, see this Bug Report.

MATLAB R2017b and later versions are unaffected.

Design and verify practical SDR systems using Communications System Toolbox™ Support Package for RTL-SDR Radio. Support enables you to use the RTL-SDR USB radio as a standalone peripheral for receiving live RF signals.

This support package is functional for R2013b and beyond.

Free e-book: Software Defined Radio using RTL-SDR, MATLAB and Simulink

Comments and Ratings (99)

Karunya Choppara

@hanyu wang: Can you let us know the MATLAB release version. And could you send the install log file to Mathworks support
The install log file can be found at this path: C:\Users\<Username>\AppData\Local\Temp\mathworks_username.log

hanyu wang

thrid party downloading never sucess

hanyu wang

Karunya Choppara

@一锟 王 @cao zhi @璇 杨 @panfuquan pan: Could you please contact MathWorks Support: or submit a question to and provide more details on the issue

一锟 王

cao zhi

璇 杨

Andreas Baulig

panfuquan pan

Michael Morelli

As noted on the Error Code -12 section of : , the key for me was to do the followign during the Zadig installation:

If you do not find RTL283UHIDIR or RTL2832U interfaces in the list, navigate to 'Options' and make sure that you select 'List all Devices' and clear 'Ignore Hubs or Composite Parents' check box.

Johannes Sommerfeldt

To fix the Error Code -12 issue, I had to manually start the Zadig software that comes with this package. In older versions it apparently started automatically as part of the installation, but in my case it didn't...
Luckily the links provided by the E-Book for RTL-SDR provided my MathWorks helped my solve this as follows:
The documentation for common problems and fixes for this package at
has a paragraph for "Test connection fails and displays 'Error Code -12' message" that tells you where to find the Zadig executable.

If you are unsure what to click in that Zadig software, see this video
and the official documentation

Also developers, please fix the installation, this cost me way more time than neccessary...

fuquan pan

YuYin LinHai

already down?

junping liu

Luke Buchholz

Error code -12. Having trouble getting to any documentation that could correct this. Doing what I can but no matter what port I use I can't get the initial setup completed. It never sees the RTL-SDR dongle. At a loss and with as much documentation that is available in this package I was really hopeful to be able to jump into this.

Jorge Ramirez

No solution has been posted in any previous thread. unable to download it into my R2019a


I have R2020a,after loading the package for RTL SDR the error code -12 is returned, does anyone know of a fix for this?

Jorge Silva

da error third party

Aaron Carley

Yuqiang Zhuang

Delam Ran

Matlab cannot connect RTL-SDR with "Error code -12", any suggestion?

wahyu pamungkas

Failed to download the third-party software:

Redhwan Mawari

Which RTL-SDR do you recommend

sally idhis

Hello I tried to install this package after downloading it but this error keeps preventing me from setting it up. the error says: " Hardware setup error :cannot detec the RTL-SDR radio. .."
the documentation says devices with USB 3.0 ports can be the reason why. All my USB ports are indeed 3.0. How can I overcome this issue??

习恒 张

I use the MATLAB 2017b success install it ! Be careful , if you are using MATLAB 2016a and the earlier versions, this file is unuseful. You have to change to the highter versions.

Duane Shelton

Yukihiro Serizawa

evgeniy chebanenko

suhong lin

The driver has been installed using zadig, but "error code -12" occured when test connection, so what can I do? thanks

bui hai

who could send installation packages to me? thank you email:

jing b

everytime !I have been stoped at: download the third-party software...
what can I do??????


Hardware setup error: Values should be specified as cell array of character vectors or string array.
cannot interface with RTL SDR

wang binbin

who could send installation packages to me? thank you


Boyu Yang

Boyu Yang

Firstly, I have to say that you can't download it easily if you don't have a high-speed internet environment. Second , moth**fu**er

rope Wang

jingchun li

jingchun li

Ganymede Skywalker


victor chan


@ Mike McLernon
What's the version got to do with a dead link inside the installer provided on this page?

BTW, it mentions compatibility from version "R2014a to R2019b", as stated in the upper right corner of this page.

Mike McLernon

@Starhowl -- It looks like you are using an old version of MATLAB. Are you able to upgrade to a more recent version?


The installer refers to dead locations and returns 502-errors. Please fix it!

yuming zhong

Tanner Oleksiuk

I get this error when trying to install. Each time it prompts me to provide admin permissions to which I say yes to and no matter how fast I respond to the prompt it times out. Does anyone know a fix for this?

Administrator credentials prompt timed out/cancelled
The third-party software you are installing requires administrator credentials. Restart the installation and provide credentials when prompted

rihan wu

Can't download 'pthreads-win32',Please fix it.

amal abu liela

plz, any one help me


As of today, all download errors have been fixed. Please note that for R2017a and earlier versions, you must follow the instructions given in the bug report referenced in the Editor's Note.
If you are still having installation problems, please contact MathWorks Support:

br nj

Thank you woring perfectly!

br nj

"Download Error
Failed to download the third-party software:
libusb Precompiled Libraries"
Please can you correct the link

Maurizio Cardinale

All the time

"Download Error
Failed to download the third-party software:
libusb Precompiled Libraries"

Please fix it

Zelin Hao

Can't download 'pthreads-win32', why?

Sheldon Xu

after install this support package on Matlab2019 version, cannot connect to RTL-SDR device, but using SDRsharp, I can use the RTL-SDR device. Any suggestions?

Clovis Bonavides

Best tool I know as a practical aid in teaching about comms systems.

HIgh Tech Man

Alessandro Ugolini

MATLAB R2019a, macOS Mojave, I get the following error when trying to install:
This folder name is invalid. Folder names can contain alphanumeric characters and '-', '_', '.', or '/' only. The destination folder cannot be named "private".

Xi Hong

The third-party package download failed, how could I go through the net wall from China!

Yirong Xie

R2018a install fail
libusb Precompiled Libraries

zhigang chen

Failed when downloading 'pthreads-win32' matlab is 2019a, what should I do?


@jbkohn and @Marco Ramirez, can you please contact or submit a question to and provide more context?

yuanbo He

yuanbo He

Failed when downloading 'pthreads-win32' package. How can I walk around by downloading it somewhere? I need help...


Hardware setup error: Values should be specified as cell array of character vectors or string array
Cannot run any of the examples. Cannot interface with hardware.

Xu Jia

suhong lin

my hardware RTL8232U cannot be connected, the driver has been installed correctly(sdrsharp works well),but matlab cannot connect it,

Geng Shao

Geng Shao

cannot install

Marco Ramirez

"Hardware Set up error"
Values should be specified as a cell array of character vector or string

David Benoit

Error using comm.SDRRTLReceiver/checkForError
Failed to set parameter center frequency.

Error in comm.SDRRTLReceiver/setupImpl

Error in ADSBExample (line 237)
[rcv,~,lost,late] = sigSrc();

fangxin J

if you want to download third-part in China ,you need a VPN !!!

Haichuan Su

mathe black

is it have another URL to download?It is to slow since it can't download

Juan Hernandez

Error in download the third part document


WHY Can't I install it on my mac matlab2018a ???? Error in download The third part document


Ian Gelman

Ivan Golev

Error using comm.SDRRTLReceiver/checkForError
Failed to set parameter center frequency.

Error in comm.SDRRTLReceiver/setupImpl

Error in ADSBExample (line 237)
[rcv,~,lost,late] = sigSrc();

Nils Schwabe

Cannot install it. Fails with error:

Failed to install the third-party software:
RTL-SDR Precompiled Libraries

Antonio: Please send an email to with your issue. They can help you out.

Antonio Blanco

I can't install it

Suresh Kumar Yada

Evandson Dantas

Works very nice with RTL-SDR 82082! Thanks

Gianluca Renzi

Hunder Chen


Marcin Puchlik

Did this package will work with R2016b?
Cause I have error while installation
Thanks in advance


Please contact MathWorks support to resolve the proxy issue. We should be able to help you get past the issue and install the support package.


Why can't I download an offline installer?
I can't connect through a proxy to finalize the installer even after following all of the solutions listed in this thread:


Why can't MathWorks just post a copy of the full installer to download via web browser!!?

Taylor Burgett

Support for 64-Bit Mac OS X. Click on the following link for more information:

Support for 64-bit Linux. To learn more about the supported qualified distributions, see:


We are not planning to port this to 13a. R2014a will be soon out, which will also be available as Student version. You can purchase Communications System Toolbox as an add-on to the Student version to use this support package.


Any chance of this being backported to 2013a?

MATLAB Release Compatibility
Created with R2014a
Compatible with R2014a to R2021a
Platform Compatibility
Windows macOS Linux

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