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Cross-domain protocol tester checks PCI Express, Fiber Channel

Posted: 07 Mar 2005 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:agilent technologies? e2960a? system protocol tester? protocol tester? pci express?

Offering multi-protocol analysis with time correlation, test-and-measurement vendor Agilent Technologies is debuting an enhancement to its existing E2960A series system protocol tester. You can now achieve time-correlated, cross-domain protocol analysis of PCI Express and fiber channel (FC) semiconductors and systems.

Agilent's multi-port enhancements to its E2960A support 1Gbps, 2Gbps and 4Gbps FC and PCI Express. The system uses multiple modules to handle the multiple protocols, and provides cross bus-triggering. By combining protocol analysis and traffic generation of multiple FC ports and PCI Express high-speed buses, you get a way to see protocol-level system execution.

Identifying inter-dependencies

By simplifying the testing of complex products, the E2960 is expected to help you accelerate development of hardware, firmware and software. "Until now, identifying performance bottlenecks that arise from inter-dependencies between transactions on different ports and across protocol domains was difficult and time-consuming," contends Sigi Gross, VP and GM of Agilent's Digital Verification Solutions division.

"The increasing integration of multiple complex protocols is driving the need for new system-level, multi-protocol and multi-port analysis," adds Gross, noting that the most elusive issues are often related to the interaction between sequences of events on heterogeneous buses.

"Transactions on one protocol domain can correspond to multiple transactions on the other domains. Until now, system-level debug requires troubleshooting with different uncorrelated test instruments."

A consistent user interface

Gross says this enhancement to the E2960A will change that pictureand do it visually. Building on Agilent's existing N2X platform, the enhanced E2960A series tester includes a consistent GUI (graphical user interface). "The GUI provides the same look-and-feel across domains to help you spot problems quickly," says Gross.

The enhanced system also includes a multi-state trigger sequencer for each test module. It tracks protocol state-machine and events in realtime. Finally, the system's scalability can support a large number of simultaneous measurements on multiple ports.

The enhanced Agilent E2960A series system protocol tester is available to order now with shipments expected in April. The starting price for a system capable of testing both PCI-Express and Fiber Channel is less than $60,000.

The E2960A protocol analyzer for PCI Express x1 starts at $30,000. A 1735A FC plug-in module, plus the analyzer software, adds an additional $29,500. Existing users with both PCI-Express and Fiber Channel capabilities can upgrade to the cross-domain measurement capability at no charge via a software download.

- Alex Mendelsohn


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