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High data traffic intensifies SI issues

Posted: 03 Feb 2011 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:Secure User Plane for Location? Location Server Emulator? test equipment?

The propagation of wireless devices and the insistence for low-cost as well as high-performance products are all components of global wireless traffic, which is predicted to reach 600TB monthly, typically consisting of audio and video streams by 2014, according to market reports.

"These increasing data rates are driving test and measurement requirements of high-speed serial paths which are causing signal integrity problems," said Jay Alexander in his DesignCon keynote on Feb 1. Alexander, VP and general manager, Design Validation Division at Agilent Technologies, added that "the SI challenges are complemented by FPGAs being commonplace in all digital systems which bring their own degree of complexity. On top of that, standards keep evolving every two to three years complicating the test and measurement of serial interfaces."

Alexander offered his audience three future scenarios to consider for the electronics industry: a primacy spot with highest performance as a goal; as a key enabler where cost is traded off for performance; and a fully mature industry driven only by cost.

"I believe in the theory espoused by Geoffrey Moore in his management book 'Dealing with Darwin' which when applied to the electronics industry says that all three scenarios exist in different points of a life cycle."

That is, different companies in the electronics industry are at many different points of a life cycle, and all can find success, whether they are at the leading edge, mature level, or trailing edge. "Electronics is a huge market and there are many segments in that market. Our job is to find, to pinpoint, the testing opportunity in each segment, optimize the solutions for each segment, and deliver the test and measurement solution on time."

To that end, Agilent is working along a four-point strategy: technology leadership; mainstream markets; application solutions; and adjacent markets.

The latest example of Agilent implementing on its strategy is today's agreement with Atheros, which has selected Agilent's Location Server Emulator software for testing Assisted GPS over the Secure User Plane. The software will play a critical role in supporting Atheros' R&D activities for wireless communications, including both functional and performance testing.

The Secure User Plane for Location (SUPL) technology uses existing infrastructure and standards to transfer location services data over an Internet protocol. Agilent's E6965A Location Server Emulator is a commercial benchtop solution to support SUPL functional test using an over-the-air connection to a SUPL-enabled terminal. The E6965A provides all the elements of the SLP needed to test such devices. When combined with other Agilent test equipment, the software forms a system that provides satellite simulation, cellular base-station emulation and the messaging required for SUPL testing.

"Atheros GPS products with the new FYX location core support SUPL A-GPS features to deliver a faster time to fix," said Keir Finlow-Bates, software engineering manager at Atheros. "Agilent's easy-to-use Location Server Emulator software is a valuable tool that automates our testing to verify that the A-GPS functionality complies with the SUPL standards and meets the demands of prominent wireless carriers."

Agilent employs 18,500 employees in over 100 countries and had net revenues of $5.4 billion in fiscal 2010.

- Nicolas Mokhoff
??EE Times

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