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Agilent Technologies Inc. announced an enhanced solution for PCI Express® 3.0 receiver characterization at DesignCon.
The Agilent PCIe® 3.0 receiver characterization solution provides complete and accurate receiver tolerance test results while minimizing R&D effort. The new J-BERT software (revision 7.40) enables testing of PCIe 3.0 receiver designs that adjust the length of the 128b/130b encoded filler symbols—also known as SKP ordered sets—as needed for clock compensation.
Using the Agilent test set, design and test engineers in the semiconductor and computer industry can accurately characterize and verify standard compliance of PCIe receiver ports in ASICs, add-in cards and motherboards.
Since the release of revision 3.0 of the PCI Express specification, the 8-GT/s interface has been designed into many computer platforms. A common reference clock often is used for PCIe designs, but more and more designs now require a separate reference clock architecture with independent spread spectrum clocking (SSC) such as a PCIe-over-cable link. When designers use separate reference clocks, they need to compensate for small differences in the clock rate on the transmitter and receiver sides to avoid buffer overflow. Clock compensation can be required even for common reference clock designs on motherboards, in the presence of SSC or when using multiplying phase-locked loops. The PCI Express standard requires this compensation to be accomplished by adding SKP symbols to (or removing them from) the nominal SKP ordered set.
Agilent’s new J-BERT N4903B high-performance serial bit-error ratio tester software enables receiver testing in cases where the SKP ordered set length is changed by the device under test in loopback mode. The J-BERT error detector can now ignore SKP ordered sets when counting errors, even when they deviate from the original length sent out by the pattern generator. When engineers debug their designs, they can monitor SKP ordered set counters in the error detector.
“For PCIe 3.0 chipset and board designers, our solution’s ability to handle adjustments of PCIe 3.0 SKP ordered sets during receiver jitter tolerance characterization fills a critical need,” said Michael Fleischer-Reumann, strategic product planner for Agilent’s Digital Photonic Test Division. “The flexible architecture of our J-BERT, along with our long expertise in PCI Express receiver testing, allowed us, once again, to address emerging test challenges.”
With this enhancement, Agilent continues to broaden its complete and accurate PCIe 3.0 receiver test solution, which can be used for characterizing against the base specification as well as the card-electro-mechanical specification.
The Agilent receiver test solution encompasses the J-BERT N4903B high-performance serial BERT, the N4916B de-emphasis signal converter, the N4915A-014 PCIe 3.0-compliant calibration channels, the 81150A or 81160A pulse function arbitrary noise generator, an Infiniium 90000 or 90000 X-Series high-performance oscilloscope,and N5990A-101 and N5990A-301 test automation and link training software. For motherboard testing, the N4880A reference clock multiplier is available.
Benefits of the Agilent PCIe 3.0 receiver characterization solution include:
Agilent will demonstrate its enhanced PCI Express 3.0 receiver characterization solution at DesignCon 2013, Jan. 28-31, at the Santa Clara Convention Center, Booth 201. Agilent offers a wide selection of high-speed digital solutions, including essential tools to pinpoint problems, optimize devices and deliver results for design and simulation.
J-BERT software revision 7.40 is available now as a free download from www.agilent.com/find/jbert. To use PCIe 3.0 SKP ordered set handling, the N4903B J-BERT must have the SER/FER analysis option N4903B-A02/-UA2 installed.
Information about Agilent’s complete portfolio of PCI Express transmitter, receiver and channel test solutions is available at www.agilent.com/find/pciexpress.
Agilent Digital Test Standards Program experts are involved in various international standards committees, including the Joint Electronic Devices Engineering Council, PCI-SIG®, Video Electronics Standards Association, Serial ATA International Organization, Serial Attached SCSI (T10), USB-Implementers Forum, MIPI Alliance, Ethernet standards (IEEE 802.3), Optical Internetworking Forum and many others. Agilent’s involvement in these standards groups enables the company to bring the right solutions to market when customers need them.
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