Balancing test equipment availability with tight budgets and aggressive timelines can be challenging for any product development group. PCI Express® engineering teams are especially impacted, given the cost of equipment and pressure to get products to market quickly—even as testing environments become increasingly more complex.

Product development teams have similar goals

  • Faster debug for quicker time-to-market and earlier revenue
  • Reduced equipment acquisition costs and lower TCO
  • Equipment allocation and workspace optimization

Multi-function platforms for the entire product development lifecycle

The PCIe protocol testing market has largely been served with dedicated devices. Analyzer, Exerciser and Jammer platforms are traditionally separate hardware tools, and each is needed to supplement the other in testing functions. For example, Exercisers are wired into Analyzers and then removed after use to enable another engineer to use the tool. Jammers have also been separate tools, often with limited analysis capability, that plug into an Analyzer platform for trace analysis.

Recognizing the need for tool integration and platform flexibility, VIAVI incorporated all of these functions into its PCIe5, Xgig 5P16 platform.  Unique to VIAVI, Exerciser and Jammer functionality can quickly and easily be added to our 16-lane Analyzers at any time—as software upgrades—without purchasing additional hardware.

Platform flexibility provides users with “time to revenue” and operational advantages

Faster Time to Market

Exerciser, Analyzer and Jammer functions can be integrated on the same chassis, so equipment does not need to be disconnected and replaced with different devices to perform additional tests. As a result, testing can often be completed more quickly, which helps get products to market faster.

Helps Contain Costs

Costs can add up when purchasing individual, single-purpose hardware. The ability to combine functionality on one chassis provides cost flexibility that single function devices simply can’t provide. Because functions are software-based, they can be added at any time with a quick upgrade, enabling managers to conserve funds until additional functionality is required.

Easier to Manage

A flexible, software-defined platform simplifies equipment management, reducing the amount of administrative energy needed to allocate and keep track of independent hardware modules. Additionally, software upgrades can often be provided faster and more economically than hardware. This is particularly helpful when functionality is required more quickly than a physical can be ordered, shipped, and delivered.

Configuring a complete PCIe5 protocol analysis system

The VIAVI PCIe 5.0 platform consists of Protocol Analyzer Chassis, Exerciser Host Test Stand, Exerciser Software Module, Jammer Software Module and a range of popular Interposers. Similar to other VIAVI platforms, our PCIe5 chassis is supported by the Xgig tool suite including TraceControl, Expert™, TraceView and Serialytics™. The platform supports Analyzer, Exerciser and Jammer functions on the same 5P16 chassis for additional versatility. The 5P16 also accommodates alternate protocols like CXL and NVMe , and others. Look for more about these products and features in future blogs.

PCIe and PCI Express are registered trademarks of the PCI-SIG standards group

About The Author

Peter has over 20 years experience creating integrated marketing and communications for technology companies both in Silicon Valley and globally. His topics of focus include high-speed test and measurement, IoT, AI and Enterprise communications solutions. He holds a BA from the University of Washington, Seattle and a Masters from the Grenoble Ecole de Management in Grenoble, France.

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