Agilent Technologies Inc. (NYSE:A) and Xilinx Inc. (NASDAQ:XLNX) announced a collaborative solution for testing and optimizing high-speed serial links implemented with Xilinx RocketIO multi-gigabit transceivers (MGTs). The new tool, the Agilent E5910A serial link optimizer, combines Agilent measurement and analysis software with Xilinx intellectual property and JTAG communication infrastructure.
The new tool will be used by design teams in the computer, communications, semiconductor, and aerospace and defense industries. These designers face new system-design challenges associated with the migration of traditional parallel digital buses to gigabit-speed serial bus structures.
Agilent’s serial link optimizer software is based on the infrastructure provided by the Xilinx ChipScope Serial I/O Toolkit, introduced in April 2006. ChipScope Serial I/O toolkit provides an internal bit error ratio tester (IBERT) core that can be placed in the FPGA, along with a JTAG infrastructure enabled by the Xilinx programming cables. The Agilent software builds on the core and communications infrastructure to provide an analysis environment for BER testing, graphical margin analysis via eye mapping, and automatic link tuning for optimal BER. Support is provided initially for the Xilinx Virtex-4 FX FPGA Platform; the newly introduced 65 nm Virtex-5 LXT FPGA Platform, with the industry’s lowest power transceivers will soon be added via a no-cost software upgrade.
The Agilent E5910A serial link optimizer embodies the continuation of a collaboration with Xilinx that has previously produced breakthrough concepts in coupling test and measurement with FPGA technology, specifically Agilent’s FPGA dynamic probe, first introduced in March 2004. The FPGA dynamic probe won numerous innovation awards in 2004 and remains a market success today.
“The concept of embedding circuitry in silicon to enable more effective testing has been used in limited fashion for some time,” said Sigi Gross, vice president and general manager of Agilent’s Digital Verification Solutions Division. “Our work with Xilinx brings this concept to reality for a much broader group of users, enabling unprecedented design and debug insights in an easy-to-use and affordable tool.”
“As IC speed and complexity continue to increase, this contribution will only grow in significance,” adds Steve Douglass, vice president of Product Development for the Advanced Products Division at Xilinx. “Our work with Agilent extends our own tools and enables multi-gigabit serial I/O design to the mainstream system design community. Our ChipScope Serial I/O Toolkit and the Agilent E5910A serial link optimizer bring advanced technology to a new group of system designers that will accelerate the industry’s transition from parallel to serial buses.”
U.S. Pricing and Availability
The Agilent E5910A serial link optimizer is available from Xilinx worldwide distributors Avnet and Nu Horizons as well as from Agilent. The Xilinx ChipScope Pro Serial I/O Toolkit provides the IBERT core and is therefore a prerequisite for use of serial link optimizer.
U.S. list prices:
E5910A Serial Link Optimizer for Xilinx FPGAs
Option 010 1-year node-locked license $495
Option 020 1-year floating (server) license $750
Xilinx ChipScope Pro
ChipScope Pro 9.1i $695
ChipScope Pro Serial IO Toolkit 9.1i $295
Xilinx, Inc. (NASDAQ:XLNX) is the worldwide leader of programmable logic solutions.
About Agilent Technologies
Agilent Technologies (NYSE:A) is the world’s premier measurement company and a technology leader in communications, electronics, life sciences and chemical analysis. The company’s 19,000 employees serve customers in more than 110 countries. Agilent had net revenue of $5.0 billion in fiscal 2006.