Academic experimental research requires flexible, customizable, easy to use yet powerful tools for developing and implementing new, innovative algorithms, methods, and systems for RF and communication applications. Today’s complex systems require an easy-to-use, fast, and flexible development platform to deliver reliable signals and measurements from prototype to deployment.
National Instruments offers a modular platform with a complete family of signal analyzers, signal generators, and data streaming devices for desktop, portable, embedded, and networked research applications and systems. You can easily configure and program these devices using NI LabVIEW, a development environment and graphical programming language ideal for performing signal generation and measurement tasks, as well as advanced scientific computing and data visualization. Easily design, prototype, and implement new communications algorithms and mathematical models using a common set of tools that provide different levels of abstraction and models of computation within the same development environment.
The National Instruments graphical system design approach for RF and communications provides a unified platform that empowers you to integrate real-world signals with mathematical models and algorithms. It allows code reuse and takes advantage of new advances in computing and hardware acceleration technologies such as multicore processors, Graphical Programming Unit (GPU), and field-programmable gate arrays (FPGA) for optimizing system performance in a way that outpaces traditional design methodologies. As a result, you can develop prototypes and proof-of-concepts (POC) in less time and with less effort, fewer errors, and lower total cost.
The LabVIEW graphical system design platform gives you the power to design and validate the design through real-world implementation with ease and the flexibility of its open, modular platform architecture.
2. Graphical System Design in RF and Communications
Research in RF and communications includes cognitive radio, software-defined radio, intelligent and ad-hoc networks, MIMO and OFDM systems, adaptive filters, smart antennas, and mesh networks. This is a very dynamic research area that is continuously evolving as new technologies become available and new basic research prepares the terrain for developments that can result from applied research activities. A way to keep up with RF and communications advances is through software and modular instruments, with which you can easily model and prototype new channel coding and modulation algorithms and methods. With a rapidly changing and demanding market place and rising costs of RF equipment, the logical solution is to take a software-defined approach to instrumentation by using coding and modulation software to generate and measure signals through modular, general-purpose RF instruments. This software-defined approach to RF research and development is completely application-driven and user-defined.
Usually, each of those tasks requires different software tools: one for modeling and simulating the communications system, one for prototyping it, and one for implementing the system in the field or laboratory. Both the prototyping and implementation tasks require a tight integration with hardware (measuring, computing, processing), so that the communications system you design can be tested with real-world signals under operating conditions that can resemble the real ones. Scientists and engineers usually want to have the flexibility to choose between using readily available, commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) hardware tools, or creating their own custom designs. In both cases, it is best to use the same common software tools during the whole design-prototype-deploy process. NI LabVIEW offers a comprehensive approach to perform all these tasks within the same software development environment, providing a tight integration with different hardware options, including the possibility of generating code to target specific hardware platforms used in custom embedded designs.
3. Additional Resources
RF and Communications
Below is a list of tutorials and examples that can provide help in designing, prototyping, and implementing RF and communication systems using LabVIEW and the NI hardware platform.