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The challenges and potential of GPIB

Posted: 16 Oct 2007 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:GPIB? automated test equipment? I/O interface?

The IEEE 488 standard, better known as the General Purpose Interface Bus (GPIB), is a popular interface that connects instruments to computers to form ATE. GPIB was developed initially by Hewlett-Packard and was recognized as an IEEE standard in 1978. Since then, the IEEE has released IEEE 488.1 (1978) to define the GPIB hardware specifications, including its electrical, mechanical and basic protocol parameters, and IEEE 488.2 (1987) to define related software specifications.

Revolutionary changes being applied to the PCI I/O bus, such as higher throughput and smaller mechanical footprint, have increased the popularity of legacy ISA bus and more mature PCI bus standards. These standards have significantly surpassed the RS-232 in speed. On top of these are the USB and LAN interfaces, which are proven to be faster, better performing, and more versatile. Due to cost-effectiveness and easy connectivity, current PCs are equipped with both USB and LAN interfaces. Meanwhile, after more than three decades of enhancements and wide-ranging development, countless traditional GPIB devices now support hot-plug functionality and remote access to keep in pace with IP-based instruments that test engineers are more familiar with. Because of these parallel GPIB innovations, it will be difficult for newer and faster I/O interfacesUSB or LANto completely replace the standard in the ATE industry.

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