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IVI Instrument Drivers Overview

Agilent Support for IVI Instrument Driver Standards

The IVI (Interchangeable Virtual Instruments) Foundation, a consortium of T&M instrument manufacturers, system integrators and customers, approved the first IVI specifications in October 2002. The IVI standards specify an instrument driver architecture that addresses concerns with previous driver technology by providing:

  1. Compatibility with popular application development environments (ADE)
  2. Common command syntax across instrument families and members
  3. Supporting PC industry standards such as COM (Component Object Model)

The IVI standards provide a key step in giving programmers the ability to use powerful computer-standard hardware and software environments to more economically, rapidly and easily develop T&M applications.

Key Features and Specifications
The IVI standards define an open driver architecture, a set of instrument classes and the requirements for instrument interchangeability. The standards include:

IVI Open Architecture - IVI-COM and IVI-C instrument driver specifications

  • IVI-COM is the IVI driver architecture standard that is based on Microsoft´s ubiquitous COM standard. IVI-COM drivers work in industry standard software development environments, like Microsoft Visual Studio .NET, Visual Basic and Visual C++, and proprietary test and measurement software development environments, like National Instruments LabVIEW, that support COM. The current version of Agilent VEE can call IVI-COM drivers that support the IDispatch interface. (All Agilent IVI-COM drivers support the IDispatch interface.)
  • IVI-C is the IVI driver architecture standard that is based on the VXIplug&play instrument driver specifications. IVI-C drivers work directly with VXIplug&play-enabled development environments, e.g. Agilent VEE, National Instrument´s LabWindows/CVI and LabVIEW. Note that you must include proprietary software from National Instruments along with the instrument specific drivers to achieve instrument interchangeability with IVI-C drivers.

IVI Classes
Interfaces for oscilloscope, digital multimeter, function generator, DC power supply, switch, power meter, spectrum analyzer and RF signal generator instrument families. The IVI Foundation provides a venue for development of class specifications for additional families as well.

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