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Serial data oscilloscope analysis package

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AGILENT Technologies has introduced the first serial data analysis (SDA) package for its Infiniium 54850 Series oscilloscopes that translates analogue waveforms, consisting of hundreds of data points, into simple, two-digit 8B/10B symbol codes.

8B/10B is an algorithm that encodes data for transmission over high-speed serial buses, including PCI Express, Serial ATA and Fibre Channel.

The Agilent E2688A SDA package provides advanced analysis techniques for 8B/10B that help engineers save days of time in debugging, characterising and validating new high-speed serial bus designs for the computer, communications and semiconductor industries.

The optional Agilent N5393A PCI Express pre-compliance test package for the SDA allows designers to perform rigorous tests on their products to determine if they will comply with PCI Express standards.

The package includes pass/fail results, detailed HTML reporting features and archived screen shots for each test, including failure highlighting.

Traditionally, oscilloscopes allow engineers to view various types of waveforms, manually scroll through waveform records to visually identify an event of interest, or trigger the capture of a waveform by specifying basic waveform parameters such as signal edges and pulse widths.

While these waveform analysis techniques continue to represent the fundamental use model of an oscilloscope, they are inefficient for analysing waveforms from 8B/10B encoded Fibre Channel, which are too complex to be analysed visually.

Using the SDA package, engineers now can superimpose the 8B/10B codes on their waveforms, search waveforms for a given series of codes, or trigger the oscilloscope until the specified series of codes are found. These analysis techniques help engineers immediately identify problems that used to take a great deal of effort to solve.

The SDA includes software clock recovery and real-time-eye mask testing features that help streamline the cycle of acquiring, testing and identifying failures.

Based on the recovered system clock, a serial data stream can be folded into a composite eye diagram, tested against a standard mask and then unfolded to show the location of any mask test failures.

The 8B/10B decode capabilities then can be used to see which activity led to the failure.

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