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National Instruments introduces NI GPS Toolkit for LabVIEW

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National Instruments  has released NI GPS Toolkit for LabVIEW, an extension of the graphical system design environment that expands the NI RF PXI platform to include multi-satellite GPS signal simulation.

Using NI LabVIEW software to create waveforms that simulate up to 12 satellites (C/A codes in the L1 band), engineers can test receiver characteristics such as sensitivity, time to first fix (TTFF) and position accuracy with the NI PXIe-5672 RF vector signal generator.

“The GPS Toolkit is a highly capable, easy-to-use solution for simulating a GPS environment, which gives us complete control of the simulated receiver position,” said Leonardo Bonanomi, Test Solutions Manager for Services for Electronic Manufacturing (SEM).

“This toolkit, together with NI TestStand and NI LabVIEW software, helps us easily build flexible and scalable automated test systems for GPS receivers.”

With the new toolkit, engineers can use a combination of simulated and recorded GPS waveforms as a comprehensive, low-cost solution for receiver design validation and verification.

By recording live GPS signals off the air with an NI PXI-5661 RF vector signal analyser and an NI PXI-5690 pre-amplifier (low-noise amplifier), engineers can capture GPS signals with natural impairments that a receiver would observe in the real world.

They also can generate both simulated and recorded signals with the NI PXIe-5672 RF vector signal generator, by continuously streaming GPS waveforms from hard disk.

With a 2 TB redundant array of inexpensive disks (RAID) hard drive option, engineers can generate up to 12.5 minute of non-repeating simulated waveform or 25 hours of continuous recorded GPS signal to test how the receiver responds to a broad range of circumstances.

Engineers can combine the GPS Toolkit with the NI Modulation Toolkit for LabVIEW, NI TestStand test management software and PXI RF modular instrumentation for a complete low-cost production test solution. Because PXI modular instrumentation is software-defined, the same PXI system can test wireless devices that use other standards such as RDS, WiFi, GSM, WCDMA, Bluetooth and DVB.

PXI measurement systems offer a lower cost, more flexible and higher throughput solution compared to traditional instrumentation in production test applications. For multi-protocol test, the cost savings of PXI is even greater.

PXI and modular instruments

PCI eXtensions for Instrumentation (PXI) is an open specification governed by the PXI Systems Alliance that defines a rugged, CompactPCI-based platform optimised for test, measurement and control.

Created in 1997, the PXI specification is supported by more than 70 vendors offering more than 1,500 PXI products. With PXI modular instruments, engineers specify the essential functionality they require, choosing from a wide variety of measurement, signal generation, RF, power and switch modules.

Then, they configure the instruments in software for their specific measurement tasks. PXI and modular instruments provide high-speed test execution by harnessing the power of industry-standard PC and advanced timing and synchronisation technologies.

The product family includes the folowing:

  • Digitisers/oscilloscopes (up to 24 bits, up to 2 GS/s, up to eight channels)
  • Signal generators (up to 16 bits, 200 MS/s)
  • Digital waveform generator/analysers (up to 400 Mb/s)
  • RF signal generators and analysers (up to 6.6 GHz)
  • Digital multimeters (up to 7½ digits, LCR)
  • Source measure unit (four-quadrant source, 1nA resolution)
  • Programmable power supplies (up to 20 W, 16 bits)
  • Dynamic signal analysers (up to 24 bits, 500 kS/s)
  • Switching (multiplexers, matrices, general-purpose and RF)

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