Global Sources
EE Times-Asia
Stay in touch with EE Times Asia
EE Times-Asia > T&M

PCIe tool delivers in-depth characterization testing

Posted: 15 Feb 2006 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:Alex Mendelsohn? parallel BERT? bit-error-ratio tester? PCIe? PCI Express?

Agilent's ParBERT

Dishing up parallel BERT (bit-error-ratio tester) software that enables compliance and characterization testing for PCIe (PCI Express), Agilent Technologies Inc. announces this capability for its existing 81250 series ParBERT (parallel bit error ratio tester). The company claims this makes it the first automated tool for multi-lane PCIe receiver tolerance compliance and so-called deep-dive (in-depth) characterization testing.

Agilent's PCIe receiver compliance test suite runs on standard PCs, but requires Agilent's N5990A transmitter and receiver test automation software platform for the 81250 ParBERT. The combination tests the mature PCI Express 1 and the emerging PCI Express 2 definitions.

Why is this needed? Quite simply, because PCIe's multi-lane architecture is complex. For one thing, PCIe uses a spread spectrum clock. It also uses pre-emphasis and de-emphasis, and a link-layer protocol mechanism that's difficult to deal with on conventional single-channel measurement equipment.

Nonetheless, testing against a standard receiver spec in the development lab and at compliance workshops is mandatory. That's where Agilent's N5991A PCI Express receiver compliance test and characterization software comes in.

One-button capability
The N5991A PCI Express software gives you one-button compliance capability to simplify a test procedure, while providing compliance sweeps using correct stimulus signals. These signals carry the proper amounts of calibrated stress, to reduce measurement time to a minimum.

The N5991A executables also provide both printed and electronic versions of compliance test data to ensure documentation of results. The software also gives you precise characterization of physical signal performance. That permits margin analysis for further improvement in device-specific technology and manufacturing processes.

Test platform
For its part, the 81250 ParBERT platform provides a flexible test sequencer, a configurable database interface, and a Web interface. It provides interfaces for integration of sources for periodic jitter, random jitter, and bounded uncorrelated jitter stress generation. That's necessary to conduct compliant and calibrated jitter-tolerance measurements.

The Agilent 81250 ParBERT with the N5990A test automation software platform and N5991A PCI Express compliance test software can be further combined with Agilent's N5393A PCI Express electrical performance validation and compliance software for the company's Infiniium Series of oscilloscopes. This combination comprises a complete PCI Express compliance test station.

Price and availability
The PCI Express compliance test suite and the test software platform for the Agilent 81250 series are expected to be available for order by early March. The price for the PCI Express compliance software option N5991A is about $16,000. The N5990A test software platform is priced at about $50,000.

Pricing for Agilent's existing general-purpose 81250 ParBERT starts at $250,000 for a multi-lane 7Gbps version. A 12.5Gbps version is priced starting at about $160,000.

- Alex Mendelsohn

Article Comments - PCIe tool delivers in-depth characte...
*? You can enter [0] more charecters.
*Verify code:


Visit Asia Webinars to learn about the latest in technology and get practical design tips.

Back to Top