NI GPIB Products Increases Throughput with IEEE 488.1-2003 Standard

3/24/2004 - National Instruments announced that its General Purpose Interface Bus (GPIB) products fully support the recently upgraded IEEE 488.1-2003 standard and increase data transfer rates to speeds as high as 8 MB/s, up from 1 MB/s. NI GPIB products, including GPIB host controllers such as the NI PCI-GPIB and device-side products such as the TNT ASICs, are now compliant with the upgraded standard.

“This first revision of the IEEE 488 standard since 1987 reflects engineers’ interest in improving the speed of GPIB,” said Tim Dehne, NI senior vice president of research and development. “As a leading manufacturer of GPIB interfaces, we feel it is important to use the latest technology to continue to improve performance without sacrificing compatibility or requiring users rewrite their software.”

Engineers have used GPIB for more than 25 years, and it is built into millions of instruments worldwide. The bus offers communication between controllers (usually a PC) and instruments such as oscilloscopes, spectrum analyzers or digital multimeters used in research, manufacturing, test and production settings. Using the de facto standard NI-488.2 driver software, engineers can today use the same GPIB applications that were written more than 20 years ago when the standard was first introduced.

To take advantage of the higher speed of the standard, both the GPIB controller and the instrument must comply with the new standard. NI offers NI GPIB ASICs and NI-Device software to instrument manufacturers so they can easily build compliant instruments.

Both the recent upgrade of the IEEE 488.1 standard and the large installed base of GPIB-based test systems make GPIB an attractive connectivity option alongside emerging alternatives such as Ethernet and USB. In addition, with NI industry-standard instrument drivers, application software such as NI LabVIEW and multi-I/O driver software, engineers can integrate multiple connectivity options in a single test system and easily migrate applications from GPIB to Ethernet or USB instruments with few to no changes in software. All National Instruments GPIB controllers are fully compliant with the new standard including the NI PCI-GPIB and NI GPIB-ENET/100. NI also offers compliant device-side solutions including NI-Device software and the TNT4882 and TNT5002 GPIB ASICs.

For more information about IEEE-488.1-2003, readers can visit To learn more about NI GPIB products, readers can visit

About National Instruments
National Instruments ( is a technology pioneer and leader in virtual instrumentation – a revolutionary concept that has changed the way engineers and scientists approach measurement and automation. Leveraging the PC and its related technologies, virtual instrumentation increases productivity and lowers costs through easy-to-integrate software, such as the NI LabVIEW graphical development environment, and modular hardware, such as PXI modules for data acquisition, instrument control and machine vision. Headquartered in Austin, Texas, NI has more than 3,100 employees and direct operations in 40 countries. In 2003, the company sold products to more than 25,000 companies in 90 countries. For the past five years, FORTUNE magazine named NI one of the 100 best companies to work for in America.

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