To understand what the prerequisites are for using the ADALM-PLUTO (PlutoSDR), you need to understand what you are trying to do, and what software environment you want to do it in. The PlutoSDR is a powerful/flexible device, which can be used both in a standalone mode, or with a host, in multiple different software environments. The one that is best is unique to the problem at hand, so we don't specifically recommend a single solution. This page discusses both hardware and software options, and lists the most common1) configurations:
The PlutoSDR supports USB 2.0 On-The-Go (OTG), and can be used in two different modes:
You will also need an appropriate antenna for the frequency that you are interested in. Although there is an antenna included with the purchase of the ADALM-PLUTO, it may not be appropriate for the frequency that you are interested in (anything under 350 MHz).
You can stream data to any of these visualization tools, or SDR frameworks.
The IIO Oscilloscope is a simple visualization tool that can be used with the PlutoSDR to control the device and stream data into/output the device.
It can be run on Linux and Windows (and soon MAC).
To use PlutoSDR as a host, there are two different modes:
Either mode requires a power supply plugged into the Power USB connector, which can provide power for both the USB dongle you are plugging in, and the Pluto SDR itself. We recommend at least 5V, 1A or above, depending on the firmware image.
The default firmware images support the following USB chipsets (and commercial dongles we have verified)
You should be able to just plug things in with a OTG cable (which supports OTG - many OTG cables don't properly connect the OTG ID signal, and the PlutoSDR has no idea anything is plugged in), and have things work out of the box to stream data over ethernet or Wifi.
If the PlutoSDR finds a mass storage with specific shell or python script, it will begin to save data to the mass storage device (enabling you to do low cost wireless site surveys), which you can load into SDR frameworks later.
Almost every device which you can plug into a Linux host, you will be able to plug into a PlutoSDR with a kernel re-compile. check out the Developers information.