Software-Defined RF Test Gear
Latest SDIs from NI are targeted at automated test and research applications in other industries
August 8, 2014
National Instruments recently announced that it has
delivered “software defined instrumentation” to new instrument types and
automated test applications. NI's first software defined instrument, the
vector signal transceiver, was introduced two years ago and was used by
Qualcomm Atheros to improve test speeds by more than 200x and by Hittite
Microwave to reduce test times by more than 30x.
The latest SDIs from NI are targeted at automated test and
research applications in other industries, including wireless and mobile
devices. The NI software-defined instruments contain a user-programmable FPGA
that can be customized using NI's LabVIEW system design software without the
need to use specialized FPGA program languages such as VHDL and Verilog or
outsource development to digital design expert whenever a customization is
Prathima Bommakanti, industry analyst for measurement and
instrumentation at Frost and Sullivan commented, “Providing a user-programmable
FPGA can lead to astounding benefits for the customer, enabling them to drill
down into the instrument and change the performance drastically. With this new
class of instrumentation, users are able to turn the instrument into whatever
they need, a paradigm shift in an industry in which products have essentially
been defined by the vendor as opposed to the customer.”
More information is available at ni.com/software-designed-instruments.
Ever since I purchased a relatively inexpensive Ettus
B200 software defined radio (purchased, incidentally, through NI)
I've been looking for ways to use it as a test instrument. While I have yet to
turn it into an ATSC Vector Signal Analyzer, I've had good luck with some
simpler applications. Look for details in my September RF Technology column in
TV Technology magazine.
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