1. Wired & Wireless Software Abstraction
With NI LabVIEW you can use the same graphical programming interface to communicate with both wired and wireless measurement devices with little or no software changes. For example, you can use the same NI-DAQmx API for communicating across PCI, PCI Express, PXI, PXI Express, USB, Ethernet, and Wi-Fi. This means you can use an application developed for a USB data acquisition device with a wireless data acquisition device without making any changes to your code. Similarly, NI wireless sensor network devices are fully compatible with LabVIEW and provide an easy drag-and-drop programming interface to extract high quality measurement data. In addition to NI WSN hardware, you can use a variety of third-party wireless sensor nodes with LabVIEW.
2. NI Signal Streaming
NI signal streaming is an NI technology that overcomes the challenges in transferring a continuous stream of high bandwidth data across a wireless network. Because every wireless network has different throughput and latency characteristics, NI signal streaming technology manages large sets of TCP/IP packets across a network automatically for the user. No knowledge of IP network management is necessary. Central to the operation of NI signal streaming is onboard device intelligence. Each NI cDAQ-9191 includes a microprocessor and 12 MB of RAM, providing deep onboard memory for temporary data storage. Part of the NI-DAQmx driver also runs on the microprocessor, which manages a simple message-based communication mechanism. Short messages sent over the wireless network can be translated into dozens of register-level commands, freeing up more bandwidth for raw measurement data.
3. C Series Modular I/O
NI C Series I/O modules can measure almost any type of analog or digital signal, from <1 Hz to 250 kHz. C Series modules offer direct sensor connections, NIST-traceable calibration, and built-in signal conditioning for a variety of measurements, including temperature, high-voltage digital I/O, strain, acceleration, current, and voltage. Each NI Wi-Fi DAQ device is a combination of an NI C Series signal conditioning module and a wireless cDAQ chassis. The NI cDAQ-9191 provides IEEE 802.11b/g connectivity back to a host PC, and the C Series module provides the sensor-specific measurement I/O. Accuracy specifications for NI C Series are reported over a 10 °C temperature window, helping to ensure that the reported accuracy you see in the datasheets and manuals is the accuracy you can expect when you actually put the system to use. Maximum specifications are also noted for guaranteed results anywhere within the operational envelope. You can also use C Series modules interchangeably with different chassis, including NI CompactDAQ and CompactRIO, for other measurement and control applications.
4. LabVIEW WSN Module
The NI wireless sensor network platform provides a distinct advantage over other WSN hardware in that NI WSN nodes can be targeted and programmed with LabVIEW. Programming wireless sensor nodes has traditionally required knowledge of embedded systems and an understanding of the specific text-based language selected by the vendor. With the LabVIEW WSN Module, you can add intelligence to NI wireless sensor nodes using the same graphical programming approach that has become the industry standard for developing applications that acquire and process data. LabVIEW WSN applications are downloaded wirelessly to NI WSN measurement nodes, allowing seamless updates to deployed nodes.
The LabVIEW WSN module can be used to customize node behavior by adding intelligence to extend battery life, increase analog and digital input performance, and interface with custom sensors. The default behavior of an NI measurement node is to transmit every sample acquired to the gateway; however, this is not a requirement for many applications. You can use LabVIEW WSN Pioneer to average samples over time and provide threshold or deadband logic, so you can extend battery life by transmitting only meaningful data. Additionally, you can increase acquisition rates on the node by not incurring the overhead of transmitting each sample after acquisition. Using LabVIEW WSN Pioneer, you can then perform processing and data reduction on the node.
5. Mesh Networking
The NI WSN platform takes advantage of new mesh networking technology that allows users to create a more robust wireless sensor network system. WSN nodes can be configured in software as end nodes or mesh routers - and since it's the same hardware, nodes can acquire data in either configuration. You can architect your WSN system in a variety of topologies, including star, cluster, and mesh. In a mesh network, the wireless devices can route data through multiple paths back to the gateway. This provides reliable, redundant communication paths so that if a router goes down, the network automatically reconfigures and sends back data through an alternate path.
6. LabVIEW Web Services
LabVIEW web services give you the ability to access your measurement data from any location on any web-enabled platform. Wireless applications often require networking interfaces for machine-to-machine communication or remote monitoring and measurements. For example, you could monitor valve pressure from your mobile phone. The proliferation of the Internet and networking infrastructure simplifies the task of connecting distributed hardware over existing physical networks. Web services work by executing software methods on remote targets using standard Internet-based protocols. A client sends a request to a remote server, which processes the request and replies with a response, which is then interpreted and displayed by the client application. For wireless applications, measurement data can be sent over the network in an XML format and then interpreted on a variety of client devices, from laptops to smart phones.