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LabVIEW 8.20 Targets Communications Test

Thu, 09/07/2006 - 7:30am

National Instruments has released LabVIEW 8.20, the 20th anniversary edition of the LabVIEW graphical system design platform for test, control and embedded system design development. This new version extends the LabVIEW graphical programming platform with communications design, simulation and test tools specifically tailored to the needs of telecom design and test engineers.


The LabVIEW 8.20 platform includes the new Modulation Toolkit, a flexible software-defined approach to communications system design and test that builds on the LabVIEW dataflow programming language. Examples included with the Modulation Toolkit for LabVIEW 8.20 demonstrate orthogonal frequency-division multiplexing (OFDM), a communications technique to increase bandwidth and signal immunity that is being used in the latest IEEE 802.11n Wi-Fi and 4G cellular applications. The Modulation Toolkit makes it possible to develop models to simulate communications systems and evaluate parameter and design decisions, as well as reuse and integrate this code with RF test equipment to perform signal measurements and bit-error rate tests (BERT) for complete product testing.


The introduction of LabVIEW 8.20 includes a new feature called MathScript, a math-oriented textual programming language generally compatible with the m-file scripts created using MATLAB software. With MathScript, engineers can reuse their existing m-file scripts created using the MATLAB software, or create new scripts with LabVIEW. By doing this, they can mix and match graphical and text-based approaches for generating stimulus signals or performing measurements on complex communications signals.


LabView 8.20 also provides new tools for engineers to define their own custom measurement devices using standard, commercial PC and silicon technologies. The new FPGA Wizard automates the development of FPGA-based measurement devices on plug-in boards in a standard desktop PC for fast, low-cost system prototyping or in a National Instruments PXI module for rugged, high-performance production test systems. For example, the new IF-RIO (intermediate frequency reconfigurable I/O) device incorporates two IF digitizers, two IF generators and an FPGA that is programmed with LabVIEW on a single PCI board. With IF-RIO, engineers can prototype communications systems in LabVIEW and run them with real-time performance all using a standard PC.


With the 8.20 version, engineers now use new object-oriented programming structures to more easily design and maintain large, advanced test systems in the LabVIEW graphical programming language. In addition, the LabVIEW Instrument Driver Export Wizard for LabVIEW 8.20 allows engineers to repackage LabVIEW instrument drivers and call them from other programming languages as a dynamic link library (DLL).


LabVIEW 8.20 was introduced during National Instruments Week, August 8th through the 10th, in Austin, TX. To find out more about this new version, go to http://www.ni.com/labview/upgrade where there is a link to test drive the new software and see for yourself.


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