NI RF Signal Analyzers (NI-RFSA 18.0) Readme

May 2018

This file contains important information about NI-RFSA, including new features, supported hardware, a partial list of bugs fixed for NI-RFSA 18.0, and known issues.


New Features

Supported Hardware

System Requirements

Supported Operating Systems

Application Software Support

Accessing the API

Finding Examples

Accessing the Documentation

Product Security and Critical Updates

IVI Compliance Package Functionality

Known Issues

Bug Fixes

Automating the Installation of NI Products

Using NI Software with Microsoft Windows 10

Using NI Software with Microsoft Windows 8.1

Legal Information


This software installation provides support for customers using vector signal analyzer hardware, as specified in the Supported Hardware section. To program your vector signal analyzer, 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 a vector signal analyzer.

New Features

NI-RFSA 18.0 adds support for LabVIEW 2018 (32- and 64-bit)

NI-RFSA 17.1 includes the following new features:

  • Support for the PXIe-5820
  • Support for RF list mode on the PXIe-5820/5840
  • Support for System Configuration API and Measurement & Automation Explorer (MAX) for module temperature and self-calibration date and time
  • NI-RFSA Soft Front Panel (SFP) debug with 64-bit support
  • Support for sub-sample trigger and event resolution on the PFI line for the PXIe-5820/5840

NI-RFSA 17.0 adds support for LabVIEW 2017 (32- and 64-bit)

NI-RFSA 16.0 includes the following new features:

  • Support for the PXIe-5840
  • Support for LabVIEW 2016 (32- and 64-bit)
  • Improvements to initiate the performance for the PXIe-5644/5645/5646

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
RF Preselector Module PXIe-5693
IF Conditioning Module PXIe-5694
RF Amplifier PXIe-5698

Note  MXI Express and MXI-4 are supported on Windows 10/8.1/7.

Device-specific information about these modules is included in the NI RF Vector Signal Analyzers Help.

System Requirements

NI-RFSA has the following requirements:

  • Processor—1 GHz or faster 32-bit (x86) or 64-bit (x64) processor
  • 4 GB RAM*
  • A screen resolution of 1,024 x 768
  • Windows 10/8.1/7, 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 18.0 and NI-RFSA Soft Front Panel 18.0 support the following operating systems:

  • Windows 10, 8.11, 7 SP12
  • Windows Server 2012 R21 (64-bit)
  • Windows Server 2008 R2 SP12 (64-bit)

1NI software installs VC2015 Runtime and .NET 4.6.2. Windows 8.1 and Windows Server 2012 R2 require Microsoft updates to support these items. Refer to Microsoft KB2919442 and KB2919355 for more information about how to install these updates.

2 NI software is signed with a SHA-256 certificate. Windows 7 SP1 and Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1 require Microsoft updates to support SHA-256. Refer to Microsoft KB3033929 for more information about how to install this security update.

Note  In 2016 NI-RFSA dropped support for Windows Vista, Windows XP, Windows Server 2003, and installations of Windows 7 without any service packs. NI-RFSA 18.0 will not install or run on an unsupported OS. You cannot deploy or distribute applications that use NI-RFSA 18.0 to an unsupported OS. Additionally, after installing NI-RFSA 18.0, you cannot use any installers built on this computer with any version of LabVIEW, LabWindows™/CVI™, NI TestStand™, or Measurement Studio on an unsupported OS.

For more information about the changes to our OS support for 2016, refer to KB 79UC78LS, Why Does My NI ADE Installer Fail on Windows XP/Vista and Windows Server 2003?.

Note  Support for Windows 32-bit operating systems may require disabling physical address extension (PAE). To learn how this might affect your system and what actions you might need to take, visit and enter the Info Code PAESupport.

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 2015 SP1, 2016, 2017 SP1, or 2018
LabVIEW Real-Time Module 2015 SP1, 2016, 2017, or 2018
LabWindows/CVI 2010 and later
LabWindows/CVI Real-Time Module 2010 and later

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-5820/5840 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.

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:

  • (32-bit) Program Files\IVI Foundation\IVI\Bin\niRFSA.dll
  • (64-bit) 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.

NI-RFSA Soft Front Panel

To launch the NI-RFSA Soft Front Panel, navigate to the following location:

  • (32-bit) Start»All Programs»National Instruments»NI-RFSA»NI-RFSA Soft Front Panel
  • (64-bit) Start»All Programs»National Instruments»NI-RFSA»NI-RFSA Soft Front Panel (64-bit)

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 National Instruments products. Visit for information about critical updates from National Instruments.

IVI Compliance Package Functionality

NI-RFSA no longer installs IVI Compliance Package. NI-RFSA supports IVI configuration and runtime, but no longer supports the following features:

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

If you want to use the above features, you must install IVI Compliance Package separately, either from or from the NI Device Drivers 2018 DVD.

Known Issues

You can access the software and documentation known issues list online. Refer to the following locations at for an up-to-date list of known issues in NI-RFSA 18.0 and the NI-RFSA SFP 18.0.

Bug Fixes

NI-RFSA Instrument Driver

The following items are the IDs and titles of a subset of issues fixed between NI-RFSA instrument driver revisions. This is not an exhaustive list of issues fixed in the current version of NI-RFSA.

NI-RFSA 17.1.2

IDFixed Issue
664698 Fixed an issue in which a timeout error occurred when TClk was used with PXIe-5820/5840 devices using the WLAN Toolkit.

NI-RFSA 17.1

ID Fixed Issue
589447 Fixed an issue in which an incomplete error description was returned if the value of the Spectrum OSP Sampling Ratio property or the NIRFSA_ATTR_OSP_SAMPLING_RATIO attribute was invalid for the PXIe-5840.
601860 Fixed an issue in which an error occurred when changing the device name of the PXIe-5840 in MAX.
456000 Fixed an issue in which an installer built with LabVIEW Application Builder and NI-RFSA 2.7.5 failed.
642621 Fixed an issue in which the PXIe-5668 could not initiate before settling was complete when switching IF filters or settling configurations.
640124 Fixed an issue in which the PXIe-5840 could show a slow phase drift below 400 MHz.
541356 Fixed an issue in which attribute names did not show up correctly in I/O trace.
361166 Fixed an issue in which passing NULL as the value for some parameters caused exceptions.

NI-RFSA 16.0

ID Fixed Issue
577048 Fixed an issue in which NI-RFSA caused an exception with I/O trace enabled.
579468 Fixed an issue in which NI-RFSA returned a ADC or DSP overflow warning multiple times when the niRFSA Check Acquisition Status VI was called after an acquisition was complete.
576744 Fixed an issue in which simulation caused the PXIe-5644/5645/5646 devices to return an invalid reference error.

NI-RFSA Soft Front Panel

The following items are the IDs and titles of a subset of issues fixed between NI-RFSA SFP revisions. This table is not an exhaustive list of issues fixed in the current version of the NI-RFSA SFP.


ID Fixed Issue
581172 Fixed an issue in which Classic NI-RFSA SFP launched from the MAX Tools Menu instead of the new NI-RFSA SFP (64-bit).


ID Fixed Issue
453860 Fixed an issue in which the automatic video bandwidth value in NI-RFSA SFP Control (Local) mode was being incorrectly calculated.
442518 Fixed an issue in which clicking preset after closing a device session in NI-RFSA SFP Control (Local) mode returned an error.
486765 Fixed an issue in which the NI-RFSA SFP Launcher example for NI TestStand did not automatically enable NI-RFSA SFP session access.
485420 Fixed an issue in which certain NI-RFSA SFP trigger coercion warnings were automatically cleared when entering NI-RFSA SFP Control (Local) mode.

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

Using NI Software with Microsoft Windows 8.1

When you install NI software on Microsoft Windows 8.1, you will notice a few additional tiles in the Apps view, including shortcuts to NI application software products such as NI LabVIEW, Measurement & Automation Explorer (NI MAX), and NI Launcher. For more information about NI support for Windows 8.1, visit

Legal Information


© 2004–2018 National Instruments. All rights reserved.

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.

NI respects the intellectual property of others, and we ask our users to do the same. NI software is protected by copyright and other intellectual property laws. Where NI software may be used to reproduce software or other materials belonging to others, you may use NI software only to reproduce materials that you may reproduce in accordance with the terms of any applicable license or other legal restriction.

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.


Refer to the NI Trademarks and Logo Guidelines at for information on NI trademarks. Other product and company names mentioned herein are trademarks or trade names of their respective companies.


For patents covering the NI products/technology, refer to the appropriate location: Help»Patents in your software, the patents.txt file on your media, or the NI Patent Notice at