NI RF Signal Analyzers (NI-RFSA) 20.7 Readme

April 2021

This file contains installation instructions and compatibility information for NI-RFSA.

You can find more release information on

  • NI-RFSA Release Notes: Known issues, bugs fixed since the last release, and other notes about this release
  • NI-RFSA Manuals: New features, behavior changes, and other documentation


New Features

Supported Hardware

System Requirements

Supported Operating Systems

Application Software Support

Installation Instructions

Accessing the API

Finding Examples

Accessing the Documentation

Product Security and Critical Updates

IVI Compliance Package Functionality

Behavior Changes

Automating the Installation of NI Products

Using NI Software with Microsoft Windows 10

Unsupported Windows Operating Systems

Legal Information


This software installation provides support for customers using vector signal analyzer or vector signal transceiver hardware, as specified in the Supported Hardware section. To program your device, use the NI-RFSA instrument driver or NI-RFSA Soft Front Panel (SFP).

The getting started guide for your device provides information about how to install, configure, test, and begin using your hardware.

New Features

NI-RFSA 20.7 includes peer-to-peer support for the PXIe-5668

NI-RFSA 20.5.4 includes a bug fix to address a .NET initialization issue for PXIe-5830/1/2 devices in RFmx

NI-RFSA 20.5 includes the following new features:

  • Support for the PXIe-5832
  • Support for selected ports in configuration lists on the PXIe-5830/5831/5832

NI-RFSA 20.0 includes the following new features:

  • Support for LabVIEW 2020
  • Support for RF list mode on the PXIe-5841 with PXIe-5655

NI-RFSA 19.6 includes the following new features:

  • Support for checking module connections on the PXIe-5830/5831 with intermediate self-test in MAX or System Configuration API
  • Support for reference level in configuration lists on the PXIe-5830/5831
  • Support for clearing self calibrate range data on the PXIe-5820/5830/5831/5840/5841

NI-RFSA 19.2.1 includes support for configuring the pulse width of the user source signals

NI-RFSA 19.2 includes support for the PXIe-5841 with PXIe-5655

NI-RFSA 19.1.6 includes improvements for the PXIe-5831 in the Semiconductor Test System

NI-RFSA 19.1.5 includes support for the PXIe-5841

NI-RFSA 19.1 includes the following new features:

  • Support for the PXIe-5830/5831
  • Support for LO sharing on the PXIe-5830/5831 to improve phase noise performance

NI-RFSA 19.0 includes support for LabVIEW 2019

NI-RFSA 18.2 includes the following new features:

  • Support for specifying digital gain on the PXIe-5820/5840
  • Support for de-embedding measurements on the PXIe-5840
  • Improvements to communication performance on the PXIe-5820/5840
  • Support for specifying external calibration date for the PXIe-5644/5645/5646 and PXIe-5820/5840 in System Configuration API and MAX

NI-RFSA 18.1 includes the following new features:

  • Support for NI-TClk on the PXIe-5668
  • Support for the PXIe-5840 with PXIe-5653 in the NI-RFSA SFP
  • Added Fetch IQ (1D I16 Data Ref) for improved fetch and streaming performance
  • Improvements to initiate performance on the PXIe-5820/5840
  • Support for associating the PXIe-5840 with the PXIe-5653 LO source
  • Support for controlling the RF OUT LO OUT terminal on the PXIe-5840
  • Support for PXIe-5820/5840 self-calibration in System Configuration API
  • Support for modifying temperature resolution for automatic thermal correction
  • Support for modifying DMA buffer size to improve NI-RFSA fetch performance
  • Support for clearing self calibrate range data on the PXIe-5644/5645/5646

NI-RFSA 18.0 includes the following new features:

  • Added support for LabVIEW 2018
  • Added the NI-RFSA .NET Class Library and NI-RFSA .NET examples to the installer

Supported Hardware

The following table shows which hardware products are supported in the NI-RFSA instrument driver and the NI-RFSA SFP. The following hardware products are supported in all operating systems listed in the Supported Operating Systems section.

Hardware Product Hardware Model NI-RFSA NI-RFSA Soft Front Panel
RF Signal Downconverter PXI-5600
Vector Signal Analyzer PXI-5661
Vector Signal Transceiver PXIe-5644
PXIe-5841 with PXIe-5655
RF Analog Signal Generator
RF Preselector Module PXIe-5693
IF Conditioning Module PXIe-5694
RF Amplifier PXIe-5698

MXI Express and MXI-4 are supported on Windows 10.

Note  You must install the same version of the NI-RFSA/NI-RFSG Runtime for PXIe-5644/5645/5646 and NI-RFSA/NI-RFSG Runtime for PXIe-5820/5830/5831/5832/5840/5841 if you choose to install the runtimes independently.

Note  For best memory performance on the PXIe-5831/5832, NI recommends using only 64-bit applications.

System Requirements

NI-RFSA has the following requirements:

  • Processor—1 GHz or 64-bit (x64) processor
  • 4 GB RAM*
  • A screen resolution of 1,024 x 768
  • Windows 10 with all available critical updates and service packs

*Depending on the amount of data acquired and/or processed, a larger amount of memory may be required.

Note  Guest accounts are not supported under any OS.

Supported Operating Systems

NI-RFSA 20.7 and NI-RFSA SFP 20.7 support the following operating systems:

  • Windows 10
  • Windows Server 2016
  • Windows Server 2019

Note  In 2019 NI-RFSA dropped support for all 32-bit Windows operating systems. NI-RFSA will not install or run on an unsupported OS.

Application Software Support

NI-RFSA supports the following application software versions, including service packs. You should install application software, such as LabVIEW, LabWindows/CVI or Microsoft Visual Studio®, before installing NI-RFSA. To add support for application software installed after installing NI-RFSA, modify your NI-RFSA installation or launch the NI-RFSA installer again. If you are not using NI application software, refer to Microsoft Visual Studio Support.

Application Software Versions Supported by NI-RFSA
LabVIEW 2017 SP1, 2018 SP1, 2019, or 2020
LabWindows/CVI 2015 to current

Note  When using NI-RFSA with LabVIEW Real-Time Module or LabWindows/CVI Real-Time Module, the PXIe-5644/5645/5646, PXIe-5668, and PXIe-5820/5830/5831/5832/5840/5841 are not supported.

Note  Install any toolkits or add-on software you intend to use with the NI-RFSA instrument driver after NI-RFSA installation is complete. Refer to the getting started guide for your device for more information about software and hardware installation.

Note  MXI users must install the software included with the MXI hardware.

Microsoft Visual Studio Support

If you are using the NI-RFSA .NET Class Library, .NET Framework 4.0 (minimum) is required. The NI-RFSA .NET Class Library can be used with Visual C# or Visual Basic .NET in any Visual Studio version that can target .NET Framework 4.0 or .NET Framework 4.5. For more information on .NET development using NI .NET drivers, visit and enter Info Code NETAPIdriversupport.

To install the NI-RFSA .NET Class Library, ensure that you select .NET Framework 4.5 Languages Support or .NET Framework 4.0 Languages Support in the NI-RFSA installer.

Installation Instructions

Download the NI-RFSA installer from NI software includes NI Package Manager to handle the installation. Refer to the NI Package Manager Manual for more information about installing, removing, and upgrading NI software using NI Package Manager.

Accessing the API


NI-RFSA VIs are available in LabVIEW from the Functions»Measurement I/O»NI-RFSA palette.

To access the LabVIEW sample projects and templates from the New Project dialog, select Sample Projects in the left pane and navigate to the project that best matches your application requirements.


NI-RFSA functions are available in LabWindows/CVI from the Instrument menu. To load the NI–RFSA function panel (.fp), select Instrument»Load, and navigate to IVI\Drivers\niRFSA\niRFSA.fp.

.NET Framework

You can use the NI-RFSA .NET Class library by adding a reference to NationalInstruments.ModularInstruments.NIRfsa.Fx40 or NationalInstruments.ModularInstruments.NIRfsa.Fx45 and any dependent class libraries from within the Solution Explorer in Visual Studio.


You can use the NI-RFSA C dynamically linked library by adding a reference to: Program Files (x86)\IVI Foundation\IVI\Bin\niRFSA.dll for 32-bit development or Program Files\IVI Foundation\IVI\Bin\niRFSA_64.dll for 64-bit development.


To launch the NI-RFSA SFP, navigate to the following location: Start»All Programs»National Instruments»NI-RFSA»NI-RFSA Soft Front Panel

Finding Examples

Select Help»Find Examples from LabVIEW or LabWindows/CVI to launch the NI Example Finder and navigate to Hardware Input and Output»Modular Instruments»NI-RFSA. You can also select the Search tab to search all installed examples by keyword.

You can access all the installed NI-RFSA examples at Start»All Programs»National Instruments»NI-RFSA»NI-RFSA Examples.

Accessing the Documentation

Documentation for NI-RFSA is located at Start»All Programs»National Instruments»NI-RFSA»NI-RFSA Documentation. The documentation set is composed of the following documents.

Document Format Description
NI RF Vector Signal Analyzers Help HTML/Windows Help Contains primary help content for NI-RFSA products. The help is an HTML version of a traditional user manual that includes the following information:
  • An introduction to RF fundamentals
  • Hardware device overviews
  • How to get started with application development
  • The NI-RFSA Soft Front Panel Help
  • A complete reference for all NI-RFSA VIs, properties, and functions, as well as the NI-RFSA .NET Class Library Help
Getting Started Guide for your device Printed and PDF Contains software and hardware installation, MAX configuration, signal connection, and troubleshooting information for your device.
Specifications for your device PDF Lists technical specifications for your device.
Calibration Procedures for your device PDF Contains calibration instructions for your device.
NI RF Signal Analyzers Readme HTML (this document) Contains information about supported hardware and operating systems, new features, fixed issues, and legal notices.
Introduction to NI-RFSA HTML Contains information about driver documentation, examples, connecting to your instrument, configuring instrument settings, and known issues.
NI-RFSA IVI Compliance Document TXT Contains information about IVI compliance.

For the most recent revisions of documentation and for newly released documentation, visit

Note  To view PDFs, you need to have Adobe Acrobat Reader installed. You can install the viewer from

Product Security and Critical Updates

Visit to view and subscribe to receive security notifications about NI products. Visit for information about critical updates from NI.

IVI Compliance Package Functionality

NI-RFSA no longer installs IVI Compliance Package (ICP). NI-RFSA supports IVI configuration and runtime, but no longer installs the following IVI components:

  • LabVIEW and CVI IVI class drivers for developing IVI interchangeable applications
  • IVI Class Simulation drivers
  • IVI-COM Adapters

To use these features, you must install ICP separately. ICP is included in the Software Platform Bundle media. A stand-alone web distribution is available from

Behavior Changes

The following are behavior changes in NI-RFSA 18.2 from NI-RFSA 18.1:

  • Support was removed for the PXIe-5653 Test Panel in MAX.
  • The NI-RFSA Express VIs are now obsolete and are no longer installed.
  • The NI-RFSA RF Out LO Export Enabled property no longer requires the NI-RFSG LO Out Export Configure From RFSA property to be set to Enabled. NI-RFSA can change the export state of NI-RFSG without an open NI-RFSG session on the PXIe-5840. Ensure the NI-RFSG LO out export is generating a useful signal before using that signal for NI-RFSA operations.

Automating the Installation of NI Products

You can automate the installation of most NI products using command-line arguments to suppress some or all of the installer user interface and dialog boxes.

If the NI product you are installing uses Microsoft .NET 4.0, the .NET installer may run before any NI software installs and may require a reboot before the installation of NI software begins. To avoid a .NET reboot, install .NET 4.0 separately before you install NI software.

For more information about automating the installation of NI products, refer to the following KnowledgeBase articles:

Using NI Software with Microsoft Windows 10

Microsoft Windows 10 is the latest version of the Windows operating system and features significant changes compared to previous versions. Windows 10 introduces several new capabilities and also combines features from both Windows 7 and Windows 8. For more information about NI support for Windows 10, visit

Unsupported Windows Operating Systems

NI-RFSA no longer supports Windows Vista/XP/7/8.x, Windows Server 2003/2008/2012, or any 32-bit Windows operating system. Versions of this product that ship after May 1, 2021, may not install or execute correctly on these operating systems. For detailed information about NI operating system support, visit

Legal Information


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Under the copyright laws, this publication may not be reproduced or transmitted in any form, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, storing in an information retrieval system, or translating, in whole or in part, without the prior written consent of National Instruments Corporation.

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End-User License Agreements and Third-Party Legal Notices

You can find end-user license agreements (EULAs) and third-party legal notices in the following locations after installation:

  • Notices are located in the <National Instruments>\_Legal Information and <National Instruments> directories.
  • EULAs are located in the <National Instruments>\Shared\MDF\Legal\license directory.
  • Review <National Instruments>\_Legal Information.txt for information on including legal information in installers built with NI products.

U.S. Government Restricted Rights

If you are an agency, department, or other entity of the United States Government ("Government"), the use, duplication, reproduction, release, modification, disclosure or transfer of the technical data included in this manual is governed by the Restricted Rights provisions under Federal Acquisition Regulation 52.227-14 for civilian agencies and Defense Federal Acquisition Regulation Supplement Section 252.227-7014 and 252.227-7015 for military agencies.

IVI Foundation Copyright Notice

Content from the IVI specifications reproduced with permission from the IVI Foundation.

The IVI Foundation and its member companies make no warranty of any kind with regard to this material, including, but not limited to, the implied warranties of merchantability and fitness for a particular purpose. The IVI Foundation and its member companies shall not be liable for errors contained herein or for incidental or consequential damages in connection with the furnishing, performance, or use of this material.


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