Software vendor National Instruments (NI) has launched the LabVIEW Communications System Design Suite 2.0, a development environment specifically designed for prototyping wireless communications systems. This new version adds NI Linux real-time capability for all software-defined radio (SDR) products including the NI USRP RIO and FlexRIO. The added capability empowers engineers to develop real-time algorithms for execution on the NI linux real-time operating system, work with other tools to move up the protocol stack to MAC and network layers, and access the vast repositories of open source tools and technologies needed to build complete system prototypes – concepts critical to advance the 5G initiative.

This new version also introduces the MIMO application framework targeting massive MIMO research, and features new enhanced versions of the LTE application framework and 802.11 application framework with improved multicell and multiuser support. The MIMO application framework is a fully configurable, parameterisable physical layer written and delivered in the LabVIEW application source code that helps researchers build massive MIMO prototypes.

Researchers can use the LabVIEW communications LTE application framework’s physical layer with the upper layer stack available in open source Network Simulator 3 (NS-3) to go beyond PC-based network simulations and perform actual over-the-air wireless network experiments. The new NI Linux real-time cap­ability in LabVIEW communications makes the real-time execution of NS-3 possible in an over-the-air environment with real hardware to build true prototypes of 5G system concepts.