FRAMINGHAM, MA Agilent Technologies, Aeroflex Inc., and Test Evolution Corp. have formed a consortium to promote a new standard: AdvancedTCA Extensions for Instrumentation and Test.
AXIe is based on the ATCA backplane commonly used in the telecom segment. Future extensions to AXIe 1.0 may be designed for specific application areas, such as semiconductor test (AXIe 1.1).
The proposed AXIe 1.0 standard builds on the ATCA foundation for general-purpose instrumentation, adding core triggering capability, timing and a high -speed local bus.
An AXIe-compliant chassis will have both Ethernet, PCI Express, each on a separate backplane.
The chassis will also have external Ethernet LAN ports (for connecting to a controller PC or to a network) and an external Cabled PCIe port (for connecting an existing PXI chassis to the AXIe chassis).
Controllers can be separate PCs or embedded controllers in the AXIe chassis. The millions of legacy GPIB (General Purpose Interface Bus) instruments still in use can connect to the controller PC through an internal GPIB adapter card, or through a LAN port using a LAN-GPIB adapter.
The proposed standard supports common, vertically oriented systems where the rack height is fixed regardless of the number of modules. It also allows for horizontal orientation, where high-performance instruments are available on a large board size, but take up very little rack height.
Over 30 leading test vendors have expressed support for the standard, according to the consortium.
The consortium has different levels of vendor participation, similar to other open standards and consortia, noted Larry Desjardin, General Manager for Agilent's Modular Product Operation. He added that "we expect to see the first AXIe-compliant products in about a year."