Palo Alto, Calif.Suitable for those of you designing high-speed FPGA (field programmable gate array), wireless, and/or multi-lane serial applications, Agilent Technologies Inc. now offers five logic analysis software applications.
The applications are supported across Agilent's entire logic-analyzer instrument portfolio, including its latest 16800 Series logic analyzers, as well as predecessor 1690, 1680, and 16900 Series logic analyzers.
These logic analyzer application products are supported on all of Agilent's logic analyzers that run Microsoft Windows XP.
You can use a logic analyzer for general-purpose signal and bus timing, and to make state measurements, but you can spend hours turning low-level measurement data into meaningful information. In some cases you've got to write your own application software to do this.
Agilent addresses this conundrum with its suite of application software. The company claims its new software applications can literally slash weeks of development time, as well as eliminate errors caused by manual data interpretation.
Just look at the use of multi-lane serial busing. Using Agilent's free Packet Viewer, your design team can now view serial data in a protocol-rich manner. The Packet Viewer application supports PCI Express, SATA, Parallel Rapid IO, ASI, and Infiniband, to name a few.
In addition, trigger setup is done at the protocol level. This lets you operate at a higher level of abstraction to resolve protocol debug issues.
Get Inside FPGAs
For those of you applying logic analysis to FPGAs, Agilent is rolling out its E9524A trace toolset. Faster and larger designs using FPGAs often use so-called soft, or synthesizable, processors.
Agilent's E9524A trace toolset, specifically for Xilinx MicroBlaze cores, gives you an embeddable trace core that lets you connect the right processor signals to your logic-analyzer channels. The application also provides an inverse assembler to display software-execution measurements.
Billed as an industry first, the trace application facilitates deep-trace measurements captured by an external logic analyzer, even when Xilinx MicroBlaze cache is enabled. The E9524A MicroBlaze Trace Toolset is priced at about $2000.
Agilent is also updating its B4655A FPGA dynamic probe, by adding support for Xilinx's recently introduced Virtex-5 family of FPGAs. The B4655A FPGA Dynamic Probe is priced at about $3000.
In the realm of high-speed signals, Agilent's free-of-charge View Scope application connects oscilloscope and logic-analyzer measurements. It does this without any additional hardware except some off-the-shelf BNC connectors and LAN cables.
This application lets you time-correlate parametric oscilloscope measurements with functional logic-analysis measurements, which is useful when design problems cross both domains. Doing this with hardware can easily add thousands of dollars to an instrumentation set-up.
Bridging The Analog/RF Boundary
For wireless design, Agilent's software application can also solve knotty design problems. RF designs are quickly moving to architectures where the measurement spots for analog signals are no longer present. Rather, measurement is only available on digital signals.
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To address that, Agilent combines logic-analysis capture of these signals with its digital VSA (vector signal analysis) software. Since the ones and zeros that a logic analyzer captures tend to be foreign to wireless designers, the ability to import this information into the digital VSA application lets you view the information in traditional formats so you can validate and optimize your RF design.
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In addition, Agilent's latest signal extraction software lets you extract I/Q (in-phase and quadrature) information from digital acquisitions. The 89601A Digital VSA software is priced starting at about $9600.
For more information, contact Agilent Technologies Inc., 395 Page Mill Rd., Palo Alto, Calif. 94303. Phone: 800-829-4444. Fax: (650) 752-5300.
Agilent Technologies, (650) 752-5000, www.agilent.com