Remember test pads? Small contact points on a board’s interconnect buses with physical access for test purposes? No more. Or at least not for high-speed serial interconnects like PCI Express, Fibre Channel,10-Gbps Ethernet, InfiniBand®, Intel® QuickPath Interconnect (QPI) and the like.
Instead, soft access to onboard embedded instruments and test technologies such as BIST requires just a single point of connection; the rest is software. Software to access, to drive, to scan data, and to present it so it makes sense to the user. Almost everything from the processor out can be driven and tested without physical access today!
Think about it: Test without a single probe. Test without expensive test fixtures. Test by software only. Clearly, ICT and ‘mechanical test’ are of the past and software-driven test is the future. Or rather, it’s here and now.
Welcome to an introduction of the soft access test world and the economics of non-intrusive board test.