One difference between NI and Ettus Research USRP SDRs is driver support. All NI USRP SDRs are supported by NI-USRP, which is a driver you can use to program your USRP with LabVIEW 20XX and/or LabVIEW NXG, depending on your hardware model. LabVIEW is a graphical design environment that can be used to interface with the USRP SDR for configuration and streaming. For models with a programmable FPGA and/or real-time processor, you can use LabVIEW to program the host, real-time target, and FPGA using a single design environment.
The abstracted design environment helps accelerate the design of wireless systems and makes FPGA programming accessible to those without HDL design expertise. If you have third-party IP that you want to incorporate, such as MathWorks MATLAB® or VHDL code, you can import this IP directly from LabVIEW. To provide a higher level starting point and accelerate your application design, NI also offers LabVIEW Communications application frameworks for LTE, 802.11, and MIMO.
All Ettus Research USRP SDRs and NI USRP SDRs are supported by the USRP Hardware Driver, which is published by NI’s R&D organization under open-source licenses. This driver facilitates application development on USRP hardware in C/C++ and offers cross-platform support for multiple industry-standard development environments and frameworks, such as RFNoC, GNU Radio, HDL Coder, and MathWorks MATLAB and Simulink®. As dual-licensed software, the USRP Hardware Driver is available under the open-source GNU General Public License version 3 (GPLv3) and an alternative, less-restrictive license for volume OEM customers deploying Ettus Research hardware.
Though NI USRP SDRs are natively supported by the USRP Hardware Driver, you can also provision Ettus Research USRP SDRs with an NI equivalent to use the LabVIEW workflow. View an example.
Despite the USRP Hardware Driver’s native support of all NI USRP SDRs, the FPGA image shipped with the unit may not be compatible with the latest version of the driver. Please check the firmware and FPGA image of each device to ensure that the USRP Hardware Driver works properly.
See Table 3 for a summary of the supported software.
||USRP Hardware Driver
NI Linux Real-Time
RFNoC (Open Source FPGA Framework)
Table 3. Comparison of NI and Ettus Research Driver Software Support