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Serial protocol tester XC exerciser

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article image Speeds PCI Express design validation.

AGILENT Technologies has added measurement innovations to its E2960A serial protocol tester XC exerciser for PCI Express. The new capabilities enable stronger transaction layer support with automated protocol checking, error insertion and real time performance counters. They also provide more error insertion and algorithmic data generation.

Engineers and lab managers in R&D, validation and QA who validate and test PCI Express chipsets, boards, systems and platforms can now increase test coverage to reduce the risk of expensive re-calls and re-spins.

The new features are applicable through the graphical user interface (GUI) or programming interfaces for test automation. The real time protocol checker provides 23 protocol rules based on the PCI Express specification defined by the PCI-SIG. With preprogrammed test, it avoids time-consuming programming and search efforts. It also gives a first impression of the reliability of a device under test (DUT).

The 58 new real time performance counters give information about the count of individual packet types as well as timing information. This allows users to easily understand the efficiency, bandwidth and overhead of their DUT.

The in-system port allows control of the protocol exerciser via the system under test (SUT). This feature is the third programming option in addition to the existing COM/Tcl API and the GUI. The in-system port is intended for programming the exerciser directly from the SUT/DUT, where CPU interaction between the test program and the exerciser is needed, eliminating the need for a separate LAN connection on the DUT.

The record and replay functions allow replaying packets with the exerciser captured with the protocol analyser. In addition to the existing drag-and-drop or copy-paste capability, the exchange of packets can be accomplished through a file exported from the analyser GUI. This allows users to variable repeat any real captured PCI Express packet as many times as need to test the behavior of the DUT for a detailed, root-cause analysis.

The external trigger provides a means for the exerciser to cross-trigger other exercisers or to trigger a protocol analyser and another device or instrument.

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