National Instruments offers 8,000 Drivers on IDNet

October 6, 2009 - National Instruments announced more than 8,000 instrument drivers available through the NI Instrument Driver Network (IDNet) that make it easy to connect and control stand-alone instruments. IDNet is the industry’s largest source of instrument drivers and easy-to-use software optimized for instrument control, including NI LabVIEW, LabWindows/CVI and Measurement Studio for Microsoft Visual Studio. This network, which includes more than 500 new drivers added since April 2009, offers instrument drivers to connect to both NI instruments and stand-alone instruments from more than 325 vendors, including Tektronix, Agilent Technologies and Rohde & Schwarz. By using this source of instrument drivers, engineers and scientists can save time by getting their measurements faster and achieve more with their overall applications.

From IDNet, engineers and scientists can download LabVIEW Plug and Play, LabWindows/CVI Plug and Play and Interchangeable Virtual Instrument (IVI) instrument drivers certified by NI to automate measurements from thousands of instruments. With NI software, available instrument drivers can simplify instrument automation over a variety of buses including GPIB, USB, PXI, PCI, Ethernet and LXI.

In addition to IDNet, LabVIEW makes instrument control easier by providing an intuitive graphical programming interface, offering extensive support with certified instrument drivers and including other time-saving configuration and troubleshooting tools to help engineers and scientists acquire, analyze and present data. With a single environment for measurements and analysis, users spend less time setting up tests and more time concentrating on the results. The Instrument Driver Finder (IDFinder) Wizard helps engineers and scientists instantly locate instrument drivers and example code on IDNet and install them in the LabVIEW palette for immediate use. LabVIEW and the IDFinder significantly reduce time to first measurement by helping users get up and running without ever having to leave the LabVIEW environment.

All NI instrument drivers are built using the Virtual Instrument Software Architecture (VISA), an industry-standard I/O programming interface that abstracts away the underlying bus communication for a consistent programming experience regardless of the instrument bus used. NI-VISA, the National Instruments implementation of the VISA I/O standard, further simplifies and accelerates instrument control by providing resources such as NI Spy, an interactive utility that helps engineers and scientists troubleshoot their applications faster by displaying detailed function calls and data and timing between the software and instrument.

LabVIEW and NI-VISA also include the NI Measurement & Automation Explorer (MAX), a configuration utility that makes it possible to manage all hardware from one central location. MAX offers the option to assign aliases to specific instruments, which simplifies the task of adding and replacing instruments within automated test systems. Additionally, NI-VISA now delivers enhanced LXI standard support by providing auto-discovery of LXI instruments. With this capability, any LXI instrument added to the configuration is automatically detected in software and made available for immediate measurements.

If the network does not include the instrument driver the user requires, the NI software development environments feature built-in capabilities for direct I/O communication through interfaces including VISA, GPIB, serial and Ethernet. All three NI development environments offer an interactive Instrument I/O Assistant to help engineers and scientists quickly establish communication with their instruments, perform simple instrument I/O tasks or generate code to create their own instrument drivers. In addition, engineers and scientists who create instrument drivers can add them to IDNet. NI offers phone support for certified instrument drivers.

About National Instruments
National Instruments is transforming the way engineers and scientists design, prototype and deploy systems for measurement, automation and embedded applications. NI empowers customers with off-the-shelf software such as NI LabVIEW and modular cost-effective hardware, and sells to a broad base of more than 30,000 different companies worldwide, with no one customer representing more than 3 percent of revenue and no one industry representing more than 15 percent of revenue. Headquartered in Austin, Texas, NI has more than 5,000 employees and direct operations in more than 40 countries. For the past 10 years, FORTUNE magazine has named NI one of the 100 best companies to work for in America.