Cut test costs with LabVIEW reconfigurable I/O architecture

August 13, 2013 // By Jean-Pierre Joosting
National Instruments has announced several additions to its LabVIEW reconfigurable I/O (RIO) architecture, increasing user flexibility and power to meet modern automated test system challenges and reduce the total cost of test.

The most significant platform updates are new instrument driver FPGA extensions, a feature of the NI RF signal analyser and RF signal generator instrument drivers that combine the flexibility of the open FPGA with the compatibility engineers expect from an industry-standard instrument driver. FPGA extensions build on the release of the world’s first software-designed instrument, the PXIe-5644R vector signal transceiver. The extensions make it even easier for those with little to no FPGA programming experience to access the benefits of an open FPGA to better meet application demands with additional processing and control. Engineers already using vector signal transceivers can upgrade their drivers then mix application-specific FPGA code with standard instrument driver code.
“The user-programmable FPGA on the NI vector signal transceiver is essential for addressing the challenges associated with testing the latest highly-integrated RF components.” said Gorkem Guven, Vice President at Hittite Microwave Corporation. “With instrument driver FPGA extensions and the LabVIEW programming experience, we can take advantage of the FPGA to dramatically decrease our test times while preserving all of the hardware and software functionality we expect from our RF test equipment.”

Another addition to the LabVIEW RIO architecture is the NI PXIe-7975R NI FlexRIO FPGA module, which offers Xilinx 7 Series FPGA technology for automated test and high-performance embedded applications. The FlexRIO FPGA module doubles the data streaming bandwidth to 1.6 GB/sec and quadruples the on-board DRAM to 2 GB when compared with current FPGA modules. Two new FlexRIO adapter modules, the 4.4 GHz NI 5792 receiver and NI 5793 RF transmitter, are also available.
To address greater processing requirements for floating-point math, NI improves the CPU capability of the LabVIEW RIO architecture with the latest PXIe-8383mc PXImc adapter module. With NI PXImc technology, engineers can spread floating-point processing across multiple CPUs in the system the same way fixed-point processing deploys across multiple FPGAs.
National Instruments, www.ni.com