Tektronix issues 10GBASE-T compliance test platform

August 20, 2009 -- Tektronix has released its XGbT test automation software and test fixtures, designed to provide the the full range of 10GBASE-T test measurements.

August 20, 2009 -- Tektronix has released its XGbT test automation software and test fixtures, designed to provide the the full range of 10GBASE-T test measurements. According to the company, the oscilloscope-based platform removes complexity and improves usability compared to competitive 10GBASE-T test solutions that require the use of up to three separate instruments.

The market adoption of 10G Ethernet is expected to grow exponentially over the next several years, driven by such bandwidth-hungry applications as streaming video, VoIP, IPTV, video conferencing over Ethernet, virtualization technology, server consolidation, etc. According to Tektronix, this growth trend means that the entire supply chain for 10GBASE-T will demand reliable, fast, and easy-to-operate test equipment such as the XGbT Automation Solution.

"The need for an improved 10GBASE-T solution spans chip makers, product developers and manufacturers around the world," contends Brian Reich, vice-president, performance oscilloscopes, Tektronix. "With our XGbT software and fixtures, we are delivering an affordable one-button solution that can perform repeatable conformance and validation tests at the press of a button, making it ideal for both design and manufacturing applications."

According to the company, using the platform, 10GBASE-T designers and validation engineers can improve efficiency with faster validation cycles and higher reliability afforded by the features of the Tektronix DPO7000 Series and DPO/DSA70000 Series real-time oscilloscopes, the XGbT software and XGbT test fixtures. In addition, the proprietary 10GBASE-T software is built onto the TekExpress test automation framework, which enables additional automation steps that may be required for unique measurement needs, such as one-button control of a Tektronix AWG7000B Series arbitrary waveform generator for return loss measurements.

"We are working closely with Tektronix to validate the one-button approach. Joint testing performed on a customer device shows that this method of testing correlates extremely well with the expected results," says Jon Beckwith, research & development engineer at the University of New Hampshire InterOperability Laboratory (UNH-IOL). "We find it to be a convenient approach to performing 10GBASE-T PHY design, validation and compliance testing."

Compared to competitive offerings which require the use of an oscilloscope, vector network analyzer (VNA) and spectrum analyzer, the Tektronix oscilloscope and software solution is designed to provide faster and easier test set-up. The use of a single instrument may reduce upfront costs by nearly 50 percent in certain configurations and provides for a significantly improved user experience and more repeatable results, according to Tektronix. This capability, notes the company, is especially important in distributed engineering environments where repeatable test methods are required across different groups using different test equipment. The Tektronix solution conforms to 10GBASE-T PHY electrical testing specifications.

"Teranetics has closely worked with Tektronix to make 10GBASE-T testing efficient and user friendly," says Jose Tellado, vice president of systems engineering at Teranetics. "Using an oscilloscope as the common platform to perform 10GBASE-T measurements such as power spectral density, power level and linearity, the XGbT solution provides significant time and cost savings."

Tektronix notes that many end-users of Ethernet compliance solutions are technicians who work on the production floor testing Ethernet equipment; in this environment, companies need automated testing to quickly validate performance and interoperability of production units coming off the line. Using the Tektronix 10GBASE-T solution, customers have one-button selection of multiple tests, contends the company.

The solution allows customers to use all four channels of the DPO/DSA oscilloscope to perform measurements for faster test times and additional cost savings. Customers can also use a Tektronix P7380 SMA differential probe and P6330 high input impedance probe with the XGbT test fixture to further reduce test time. For in-depth validation and debugging, the XGbT software includes a reporting module and results export capabilities and can capture test margins and statistical information.

Solarflare Communications, a silicon vendor delivering 10 Gigabit Ethernet products, says the the combination of four channel capabilities, along with Tektronix support for National Instruments' LabVIEW, are leading to impressive time and cost savings. "Solarflare is currently shipping 10 Gigabit Ethernet controller and transceiver products. IEEE 802.3 compliance, including Tektronix' four channel support, is critical to us because it drastically reduces our validation test times," comments Ajay Rane, director of marketing at Solarflare. "Tektronix' additional support of National Instruments' LabVIEW further enhances our test automation and gives us the flexibility to automate 10GBASE-T PHY compliance testing with other components, such as thermal change and power supplies."

Tektronix XGbT software and fixtures will be available in August 2009. The complete platform including DPO7354 oscilloscope, software, and fixtures has a starting list price of $47,200 U.S. MSRP.

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