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LXI gets a head start

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AGILENT Technologies is shipping LXI IEEE-1588 demonstration kits to members of the LXI Consortium, the group of test and measurement companies managing the LXI (LAN eXtension for Instruments) standard. Consortium members have requested the kits to help design interoperable instruments and to further develop the IEEE-1588 standard used in LXI.

Agilent Laboratories, the company’s central research organisation, developed the kit platform for its research on LXI, the LAN-based modular platform standard for automated test systems. The platform enables several instruments to synchronise their clocks to within a potential 200 nanoseconds(1) over a suitable Ethernet configuration. This result is 10,000 times better than synchronisation based on the network time protocol (NTP), a software standard used to synchronise clocks over Ethernet.

“IEEE 1588 is a key part of the LXI specification, and the LXI IEEE-1588 demonstration kits give members a big head start toward implementing it,” said Bob Rennard, LXI Consortium president. “The kits demonstrate Agilent’s commitment to developing the LXI standard and supporting the collaboration of the LXI Consortium.”

In developing the kit, Labs researchers contributed their expertise in multiple disciplines including Ethernet, integrated circuit design, and mixed hardware and software network design, as well as their broad knowledge of electronic measurement instruments.

The LXI standard defines small, modular instruments using low-cost, open-standard LAN (Ethernet) as the system backbone. LXI was developed to offer the size and integration advantages of modular instruments without the cost and constraints of card-cage architectures. The standard will evolve to take advantage of current and future LAN capabilities that go well beyond legacy test and measurement connectivity capabilities.

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