While the various USRP models from NI and Ettus Research are based on the same radio hardware, the software support and user preferences vary. NI USRP devices have been predominantly adopted by LabVIEW users with the NI-USRP LabVIEW driver. Ettus Research devices are supported by a common open-source UHD. In addition to these two options, both NI and Ettus Research radios have options to leverage the powerful MathWorks MATLAB®design environment.
USRP LabVIEW Tool Flow Benefits
The abstracted LabVIEW design environment helps accelerate wireless system design 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 software or VHSIC Hardware Description Language (VHDL) code, you can import it directly from LabVIEW to provide a higher-level starting point and accelerate your application design.
USRP Open-Source Tool Flow Benefits
All Ettus Research USRP SDRs and NI USRP SDRs are supported by the UHD, which is published by NI under open-source licenses. This driver facilitates application development on USRP hardware in C/C++ and offers crossplatform support for multiple industry-standard development environments and frameworks, such as RF Network-on-Chip (RFNoC), GNU Radio, HDL Coder, and MathWorks MATLAB, Simulink®, and Wireless Testbench™ software. As dual-licensed software, the UHD is available under the open-source GNU General Public License version 3 and an alternative, less-restrictive license for volume OEM customers deploying Ettus Research hardware.
While NI USRP SDRs are natively supported by the UHD, you also can provision Ettus Research USRP SDRs with an NI equivalent to use the LabVIEW workflow.
Despite the native UHD 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 UHD works properly.
Learn more about how you can use this open-source software with Ettus software defined radios to prototype multichannel wireless communication systems.
See Table 3 for a summary of supported software.
| ||USRP Hardware Driver||NI-USRP|
NI Linux Real-Time
|Programming Languages―Host||GNU Radio|
|LabVIEW 2018 and Newer|
RFNoC (Open-Source FPGA Framework)
Table 3. NI and Ettus Research Driver Software Support Comparison