ScanWorks High-Speed I/O Validation

ScanWorks High-Speed I/O Validation

See what the silicon sees

Validating signal integrity on high-speed I/O (HSIO) buses doesn’t have to be a shot in the dark. Unlike many of the probe-based testers which extrapolate what the signal looks like, ScanWorks HSIO shows you the very signal that the receiver is seeing. Can’t get more accurate than that!

Faster is inevitable, especially when it comes to high-speed input/output (HSIO) buses and device interconnects. Unfortunately, each additional gigabit per second (Gbps) or giga-transfer per second makes the task of validating signal integrity that much more challenging. As speeds increase beyond 5 Gbps simple probing can return unreliable results.

Probe-free measurements

The ScanWorks HSIO/Intel® IBIST tools are based on one of the several non-intrusive validation, test and debug technologies that comprise the software-based ScanWorks platform for embedded instruments. While most of today’s high-speed oscilloscopes and logic analyzers rely on simulations or extrapolations to project the signaling on a high-speed serial bus, ScanWorks is able to monitor and report the signaling at the receiver. In other words, ScanWorks sees what the silicon sees. And it’s much less expensive than high-end scopes.

The ScanWorks platform does not rely on intrusively probing the HSIO. Instead, it capitalizes on instrumentation already embedded on circuit boards and in chips, such as the Intel® Interconnect Built-In Self Test (IBIST) embedded instrumentation technology. In fact, Intel recommends that IBIST should be incorporated into the signal integrity validation strategy for HSIO buses on its platforms.

ScanWorks HSIO monitors the signaling on a bus from the inside out. Freed from the limitations that probing imposes, the ScanWorks HSIO tools can validate the buses on a board faster since many lanes can be observed at the same time rather than the one or two lanes that scopes are limited to. And simultaneously testing multiple lanes uncovers dependencies like crosstalk that may not turn up when only one or a few lanes are monitored at a time.

High-Speed I/O Development Software

The High-Speed I/O Development software allows you to validate your high-speed designs, reduce the number re-spins due to high-speed bus issues, and go to production with confidence. The software helps you to:

  • Monitor inside the receiver, not outside the chip
  • Avoid inaccuracies caused by physically probing the signal
  • Perform bit error rate testing and margin tests
  • Validate all of your lanes at once, including the effect of crosstalk
  • Export quick tests that can be deployed to manufacturing

For high speed bus I/O validation, our customers are using HSIO development software to reduce the number of board changes due to signal integrity related issues.  The key value is to be able to complete signal integrity (SI) testing early in the process so the majority of the changes are made on the Alpha board. The Beta board can then focus on only minimal changes in the BIOS.

In essence, SI validation can be completed in two passes: The first pass on the Alpha board is where we catch the majority of the layout issues; the second pass is used to fine tune the buses and get maximum performance on the design.  Cost savings is achieved by reducing the number of spins on the board layout and reducing time to market.

High-Speed I/O Manufacturing Software

Ensure that your quality remains high by repeating validation tests throughout the product life cycle.

  • Increase product quality through higher test coverage on high speed buses
  • Audit for performance problems that functional tests may not catch
  • Check for variances caused by supplier changes to PCBs or a new stepping of the silicon
  • Easily train new operators on the simple graphical user interface
  • Flag supplier process variances before they turn into customer complaints

For high speed bus I/O testing, the HSIO manufacturing software reuses a subset of the validation tests.  For production, HSIO tests are used to achieve high speed I/O test coverage, confirm the performance quality of the bus, and collect margin data over time to see trends in high speed buses.  These tests determine if a design needs to be re-validated while the product is in production.  With ScanWorks® automation and test sequence capability, complex I/O bus integrity and performance testing can be accomplished in manufacturing with minimal skill and cost.

Hardware for ScanWorks

Hardware for ScanWorks

The ScanWorks platform for embedded instruments is supported by a wide variety of hardware controllers and accessories with which engineers can connect ScanWorks to their unit under test (UUT). Hardware is available for development, production and repair environments. The test platform required for ScanWorks is either a standard PC or a system with a built-in (embedded) JTAG controller.


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