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Why IVI?

For years, test software developers have faced similar problems when writing code to programmatically communicate with their instruments. Specifically, each instrument in their systems required a different set of commands to perform a specific action, with no simple, standardized communication protocol in place to program their instruments. Companies wasted valuable time and money training their developers to write software for instruments. Moreover, when instruments were upgraded, developers could not reuse the software; they often had to learn a new protocol or a different set of commands.

The IVI specifications provide a standard for instrument drivers that addresses the performance issues demanded by test system developers and provides a robust framework for interchanging instruments. IVI specifications subdivide instruments into classes such as digital multimeter or oscilloscope. They then create a specification for that class based on the most common features and functionality of the most popular instruments within that class. The IVI Foundation, the standards body overseeing the development of these specs, has already defined specifications for thirteen instrument classes. The table below provides a list of all these classes.

If you are developing test systems or software that communicates with instruments, IVI can provide you with many benefits. IVI is not limited to one instrument manufacturer or one type of communication bus (e.g., GPIB, USB, Ethernet, or PXI) and therefore does not limit your choice of instrument. In addition to the drivers already available from the National Instruments Web site, you can develop IVI drivers for any instrument.

IVI Instrument Classes

  • Digital Multimeter
  • Oscilloscope
  • DC Power Supply
  • Arbitrary Waveform/Function Generator
  • Switch
  • Power Meter
  • Spectrum Analyzer
  • RF Signal Generator
  • Counter
  • Digitizer
  • Downconverter
  • Upconverter
  • AC Power Supply

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