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Software simplifies BER testing

Posted: 12 Mar 2008 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:software package SerialXpress? testing BER? serial data standard?

Tektronix Inc. has announced the availability of its SerialXpress advanced software package that performs direct synthesis of waveforms for high-speed serial data receiver testing. The new software is for testing SATA, SAS, PCIe, HDMI, and DisplayPort serial data standards, as well as any other serial bus technology operating at speeds up to 6Gbit/s.

SerialXpress manages the creation of these waveforms for high-speed transmission on the AWG7000 arbitrary waveform generator series. In addition, an easy-to-use interface provided by the SerialXpress software package is said to make the creation and management of high-speed serial waveforms more intuitive. Tektronix claims the AWG7000 with SerialXpress software is the industry's only one-box high-speed serial data signal generator for receiver stress and BER testing, which eliminates the need for multiple instruments and complicated test configurations.

Next generation high-speed serial standards ranging from 3-6Gbit/s have diminishing timing margins that require receiver characterization to complement conventional transmitter testing, and increases in transmission speeds and trace length of transmission lines heighten the potential for errors in the signal path (channel), said Tektronix.

This means engineers need to simulate these effects during the design phase to test the tolerance of their receiver designs. SerialXpress software provides these capabilities together with the AWG7000 arbitrary waveform generators through use of direct synthesis. Direct synthesis is a repeatable method for creating ideal or impaired waveforms incorporating periodic and random jitter, pre/de-emphasis, channel emulation, idle-states, and SSC parameters, which often eliminate the need for multiple test instruments, said Tektronix.

Engineers are able to recall a setup file that encapsulates all of the relevant standard mandated tests and signal impairments, without the need for any additional external components or mixing required. To replicate the test scenarios across multiple labs, AWG setup file deployment can be managed through electronic circulation of files, enabling test systems worldwide to have consistent settings and capabilities and with no external hardware dependencies.

Price for the U.S. MSRP for SerialXpress starts at $7,000. The SerialXpress software is currently available for order and runs as an integral part of the AWG5000 or AWG7000 models, or as a standalone application on an external PC.

- Gina Roos

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