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Agilent abets connectivity with National Instruments gear

Posted: 18 May 2005 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:hardware? software? agilent technologies? i/o libraries suite? general purpose interface bus card?

If you've ever grappled with cobbling together a test suite based on hardware and software from a variety of suppliers, you'll appreciate this announcement from test-and-measurement house Agilent Technologies. It's announcing that its I/O Libraries Suite, and its IEEE-488/GPIB (General Purpose Interface Bus) cards and converters will soon work within national instruments' (ni) LabVIEW and LabWindows environments. The suite starts at less than $400.

This news comes on the heels of the recent announcement that Agilent's VEE Pro 7.5 will also support NI data-acq hardware.

No more struggling

Agilent's suite and GPIB cards have heretofore worked with software development environments such as Agilent's own popular VEE Pro and Microsoft's development languages. Adding NI's NI-488 compatibility with the existing industry-standard VISA (Virtual Instrument Software Architecture) will ensure that you won't have to struggle with I/O hardware and software incompatibility.

The I/O Libraries Suite, cards, and converters are part of Agilent Open, a program designed to reduce the time and frustration often found in comprising test systems around products from a number of vendors.

Simplify and accelerate

The I/O Libraries Suite v14.1 is claimed by Agilent to "dramatically simplify and accelerate" the process of connecting test instruments. In use, it automatically detects instruments connected to your PC, configures the interfaces, and verifies the connection-even in test systems that mix Ethernet, LAN, GPIB, RS-232, USB and VXI instruments. The same is true for software from multiple vendors. "Multi-vendor test environments are a reality for engineers connecting test instruments," notes Mark Pierpoint, VP of Agilent's Measurement and Analysis Software Group. "They use different software, hardware, and I/O technologies to create new test systems or add to existing ones.

"The Agilent Open program uses open standards-based I/O, software, and hardware, significantly reducing engineering effort. Connecting instruments from multiple vendors is as easy as connecting a printer to a PC."

Fifteen minutes to showtime

All Agilent's I/O hardware will be able to be used in mixed-configuration systems, along with NI's I/O hardware. The NI-488 compatibility ensures that your system will automatically configure itself to work in less than 15 minutes with the I/O Libraries Suite.

The I/O Libraries Suite multi-vendor test software will also let you establish error-free connections and create test programs in whatever development language you choose, whether it's from Agilent, Microsoft or NI. This capability will reduce the complexity of setting up, replicating, or updating a test system setup.

Version 14.1, with NI-488 compatibility, will support Agilent I/O hardware, including Agilent's 82357A GPIB/USB interface, its E5810A GPIB/LAN gateway, and its 82350B PCI GPIB card. It also will support many previous-generation cards and converters. Agilent I/O Libraries 14.1 is expected to be available in August.

- Alex Mendelsohn


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