Visual System Simulator

Wireless Communications/Radar Systems Design

Visual System Simulator™ (VSS) software is the system-level simulation technology that's part of the NI AWR Design Environment platform.  VSS is an RF and wireless communications and radar systems design solution, supporting realistic measurements of cascaded RF blocks, identifying the source of spurious products and simulating system metrics such as bit error rates all from a single system diagram. Designers of commercial and military transmitters and receivers are then able to quickly and easily create subsystem architectures and optimize their components for best overall performance.

Recent Additions

The latest release of NI AWR Design Environment, specifically Visual System Simulator, provides new and enhanced capabilities.  Highlights include:

  • New 5G Waveforms - New offering of 5G candidate modulated waveforms, including the 3GPP standards organization’s waveform of choice for 5G New Radio (NR) with variable SCS, other modulation schemes considered for 5G such as FBMC, GFDM, filtered-OFDM and CP-OFDM, as well as expanded support for LTE-Advanced (LTE-A) with carrier aggregation of intra-band and inter-band component carriers. VSS Testbench for Verizon 5G Tech Forum Downlink System
  • Enhanced Phased-Array Model -  provides greater flexibility in simulating array performance with a single re-configurable model supporting thousands of radiating elements based on measured or simulated antenna data for the development of beam-forming algorithms, evaluation of hardware impairments and RF link analysis. The model, which also accounts for mutual coupling between radiating elements for greater accuracy, can be configured as a MIMO (Multiple-Input Multiple-Output) antenna assembly.
  • New System-Level Load Pull - The new system-level load pull feature within VSS generates contours for communication performance metrics such as ACPR and EVM. 

Learn more: What's New


  • Circuit and System-Level Co-Simulation
  • Component Specifications
  • Communication Algorithm and Modulated Waveform Development
  • End-to-End Communication Systems (Baseband thru RF and OTA)
  • ​Wireless conformance tests for communications systems such as:
    • 5G and LTE/LTE-A​
    • ​NB-IoT
    • DVB-H/DVB-T​
    • WiMAX/802.16d-2004/802.16e-2005 (mobile and fixed)
    • CDMA2000 and GSM/EDGE
    • WLAN/802.11a/b/g and 802.11ac (IP sharing with LabVIEW)
    • And more like 3G WCDMA FDD, IS95, ...​
  • Aerospace/Defense Systems
    • Radar and phased-array antenna systems
    • EW, ECM, ESM and other RF and microwave systems

Product Features


  • RF Chain Impairment Analysis
  • RF Planner (RFP) - Frequency planner tool option
  • RFA™ - System-level planning tool to create and verify initial specifications, inclusive of:
    • RFB™ for cascaded RF measurements
    • RFI™ for identification of inter-modulation products
  • Circuit/System Co-Simulation - supports memory effects
  • Impedance Mismatch - Capability for monitoring VSWR and its impact on the system
  • EVM, ACPR, and Phase Noise Measurements
  • Communications Test Benches - For wireless standards including:
    • GSM, LTE,WiMAX,DVB-H/DVB-T and Wi-Fi (IEEE-802.11,a/b/g/ac)
    • NB-IOT, etc

Models and Libraries

  • Models - Comprehensive library of components

    • RF behavioral, file, and circuit based models 
    • Digital signal processing (DSP) components for simulating different fixed point formats.
    • Channel and antenna models for over-the-air fading and propagation models
    • Phased-array models enable simulation of phased arrays with very large number of elements inclusive of MIMO
    • Radar library - includes support for radar signal processing 
    • Turbo decoders, I/Q demodulator, and BER simulation
  • Waveform Libraries - Common wireless communications standards/waveforms
    • Includes LTE-A and 5G candidate modulation waveforms
  • Custom Algorithm Interoperability - Co-simulate with LabVIEW, MATLAB or create custom C++ models

Manufacturing and Test

  • Wireless Standards and Test Benches -  Support for multiple wireless communication standards with test benches for transmitter conformance testing and receiver sensitivity analysis inclusive of Narrow Band IOT (NB-IOT) test bench 
  • TestWave -  Integrates test and measurement (T&M) equipment with NI AWR Design Environment
  • LabVIEW - Co-simulates with VSS to enable 5G designers to verify complex RF systems, inclusive of DSP blocks
  • VST - Links to NI’s unique software-designed instrument to solve the most advanced RF design and test applications, from radar prototyping to 5G test

Supported Technologies

  • Wireless Standards - 5G, LTE/LTE-A, NB-IOT, DVB-H/DVB-T, WiMAX/802.16, WLAN/802.11, CDMA2000, GSM/EDGE,  3G WCDMA FDD, IS95, and more
  • Radar - Air-, ground-, sea- and spaced-borne radar systems including CW, CW FM, pulsed radar, pulsed FM chirp, etc.
  • Electronic Warfare - EW and ECM (electronic countermeasure) systems