Connecting a NI USRP RIO to a Host Computer

Updated Sep 17, 2021

Reported In


  • USRP Software Defined Radio Device
  • USRP-2940
  • USRP-2942
  • USRP-2943
  • USRP-2944
  • USRP-2945
  • USRP-2950
  • USRP-2952
  • USRP-2953
  • USRP-2954
  • USRP-2955

Issue Details

  • How can I connect my NI USRP RIO to my host computer?
  • What real-time data bandwidth do the different interfaces provide?


You can connect to your NI USRP with one of the following options:
  • PXI Express Interface via MXIe x4 with 200 MHz BW, using PXIE - MXI EXPRESS INTERFACE KIT FOR USRP RIO (PN: 783488-01 NI PXIe-8374)
  • Desktop via MXIe x4 with 200 MHz BW, using PCIe - MXI Express Interface Kit for USRP RIO (PN: 783487-01 NI PCIe-8371)
  • Laptop with Thunderbolt-3 port via via MXIe x4 with 200 MHz BW, using Sonnet Echo Express SE I (Thunderbolt 3 Edition) and PCIe - MXI Express Interface Kit for USRP RIO (PN: 783487-01). A document explaining a verified way has been attached.
  • Laptop with ExpressCard slot via MXIe x4 to x1 with 50 MHz BW, using NI ExpressCard-8360 (PN: 779507-01)
  • Host PC via 1 Gigabit Ethernet with 25 MS/s using SFP 1 GIGABIT ETHERNET INTERFACE KIT (PN: 783195-01)
  • Host PC via 10 Gigabit Ethernet with 200 MS/s, with 10 Gigabit Ethernet Card for Desktop (PN: 783345-01) and SFP+ cable (PN: 784076-0R5)

Additional Information

The primary bus interface for the USRP RIO is PCIe x4 which provides an effective connection for high bandwidth and lower latency applications such as PHY/MAC research. The bus allows users to stream data up to 800MB/s and customize the FPGA in LabVIEW FPGA. The interface is backwards compatible with programs written for the NI USRP-292x and NI USRP-293x devices.

The NI USRP-294x/295x devices with the NI-USRP driver in LabVIEW also support connectivity over 1G and 10G ethernet using the SFP+ ports on the back of the device, however it is not possible to modify the FPGA when connected over ethernet. The user can deploy the FPGA image over PCIe and then remotely control the USRP via ethernet.

Simultaneously connecting the USRP via ethernet and PCIe is technically possible, but will cause issues with device initialization, resulting in erratic behavior.