You could say that one of National Instruments goals is to empower you to easily build custom controllers, to gather and analyze petabyte amounts of sensor data (one quadrillion bytes, which is 1000 terabytes), and to take advantage of more measurements in the design process. Through new products, NI wants to promote a standard platform that makes the execution of test and measurement functions as easy as the spreadsheet platform made financial calculations and analyses. By making measurement technology easier to use, it can become a standard practice to characterize performance and set goals, as well as develop advanced control techniques to improve equipment performance.
For this level of capability, products will need several technologies. One is multicore processing; the ability to break functions into segments that are executed on multiple processors and recombined for a final result.
The 6.6 GHz PXI Express RF Vector Signal Analyzer and Vector Signal Generator.
Another technology is easily programmable gate arrays, such as field-programmable gate arrays (FPGAs), for the creation of custom embedded systems. Other necessary technologies are wireless sensor interfaces and compute power and storage to handle petabyte amounts of data.
LabVIEW 8.6, which was launched at NI Week 2008, delivers tools to help you reap the benefits of multicore processing, field-programmable gate arrays (FPGAs), as well as wireless communication. “Such tools are necessary to meet the performance and efficiency demands of cutting-edge applications such as controlling robotic systems, testing wireless devices, and designing hybrid vehicles,” said Dr. James Truchard, president, CEO and cofounder of National Instruments. “LabVIEW helps you apply these technologies through parallel programming while providing the flexibility to define systems with application-specific features.”
Software features developed for multicore processing let you tackle greater amounts of measurement data for advanced control applications and increased test system throughput. LabVIEW 8.6 includes more than 1,200 advanced analysis functions for faster math and signal processing. Data from vision applications, for example, can be distributed across multiple cores for innovative image processing.
With its intuitive dataflow paradigm, you can use the FPGA Module and FPGA-based commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) hardware, CompactRIO, to create custom measurement and control systems. New simulation features let you validate FPGAs on your desktop, reducing the number of time-consuming compilations.
The latest version of LabVIEW also offers new intellectual property (IP) development and integration features including the new fast Fourier transform (FFT) IP core to offload spectral analysis functions for faster performance in applications such as machine condition monitoring and RF test. You easily can import existing or third party IP into LabVIEW FPGA using the new component-level IP (CLIP) node. You can simulate the interaction of an embedded device with its surrounding environment by using static data input profiles or dynamic system models.
For wireless technology, you can extend applications into new areas of data acquisition, such as environmental and structural monitoring. The software’s flexibility and Wi-Fi network infrastructure let you incorporate wireless connectivity into new or existing PC-based measurement and control systems. It supports the latest wireless data acquisition devices, including those using Ethernet IEEE 802.11, and drivers for 22 third-party wireless sensors.
Hundreds of graphical FPGA intellectual property blocks are available for signal processing, control, and communications to develop board-level embedded hardware.
LabVIEW 8.6 offers multicore processing, easy to use FPGAs, and wireless connectivity to turn test and measurement into a powerful tool for today’s complex engineering challenges.
An RF vector signal analyzer, RF vector signal generator, and PXI Express 18-slot chassis offer flexible RF measurements up to 10 times faster than traditional RF instrumentation. The software-defined modular instruments — the NI PXIe-5663 6.6 GHz RF vector signal analyzer and the NI PXIe-5673 6.6 GHz RF vector signal generator — are complemented by the NI PXIe-1075 18-slot high-bandwidth chassis.
The NI PXIe-5663 can analyze signals from 10 MHz to 6.6 GHz with up to 50 MHz of instantaneous bandwidth. The NI PXIe-5673 generates signals from 85 MHz to 6.6 GHz with up to 100 MHz of instantaneous bandwidth. The NI PXIe-1075 is a PXI Express chassis with PCI Express lanes routed to every slot providing up to 1 GB/s per-slot bandwidth and up to 4 GB/s total system bandwidth.
These RF modular instruments take advantage of multicore processors. With LabVIEW 8.6 to implement parallel measurement algorithms on multiple CPUs, you can use the RF vector signal analyzer and RF vector signal generator to perform many common RF measurements faster. For example, the RF modular instruments can perform many individual WCDMA measurements more than 20 times faster than traditional instruments. With the ability to implement measurements such as adjacent-channel leakage ratio (ACLR) in only 8 ms, you can perform full WCDMA device characterizations up to five times faster.
You also can use these instruments to take faster general-purpose measurements. For example, a typical 50 MHz spectrum sweep with a 30 kHz resolution bandwidth takes just under 4 ms with an NI PXIe-8106 controller. As new multicore processors are released, PXI-based RF measurement times will continue to decrease without requiring changes to the RF instrumentation or NI LabVIEW programming.
Filed Under: Wireless, Software