Agilent Announces MIPI M-PHY Protocol Analyzer

June 20, 2013. Agilent Technologies has introduced its U4431A MIPI M-PHY protocol analyzer for next-generation mobile computing applications. This new protocol analyzer gives engineers in R&D and manufacturing deep insight into MIPI M-PHY-based designs.

“The M-PHY physical layer is critical to the implementation of next-generation mobile computing products, including smartphones, tablets, and laptops,” said Joel Huloux, chairman of the MIPI Alliance. “Testing and validating the implementation of MIPI Alliance’s specification is essential for our members to deliver quality products. We are pleased to see Agilent delivering new tools for analyzing the UniPro interface.”

 “UFS expands the reach of leading-edge memory technology into mobile platforms,” said Mian Quddus, chairman of the Universal Flash Storage Association. “Tools that simplify the validation of these platforms ensure that these designs will reach customers sooner and with greater reliability.”

Today’s mobile computing designs are eclipsing the functionality of desktop PCs. Mobile designers are adding multiple high-speed busses into their designs to manage multiple high-resolution cameras, high-speed peripherals, advanced graphics adapters, and massive memory buffers. This increasing demand for bandwidth has driven the expansion of the M-PHY specification to include four-lane, 6.0-Gbs options. The U4431A offers up to 16 GB of analysis memory on each lane, allowing designers to capture tens of seconds of system traffic, even at these high speeds.

In addition, the Agilent U4431A offers “Raw Mode,” a feature that lets designers see the time-correlated 8b/10b data that underlies each protocol. These states can be displayed as a waveform or listing, providing insight into how a packet is formed at the physical layer.

This visibility extends throughout the M-PHY protocol stack, allowing error detection from the physical layer to the link and from the transport layers to the high-level application layer. These views allow engineers to unravel data as it travels throughout the entire transmission process.

“Leading silicon manufacturers tell us that their technologies have the potential to place low-cost computing in front of every person on the planet,” said Ross Nelson, general manager of Agilent’s Digital Debug Solutions team. “A tool like Raw Mode helps them gain insight into every corner of their designs, helping them solve turn-on problems much faster, and allowing them to spend more time developing and optimizing features.”

The U4431A also offers tools to isolate and unravel specific events on the bus. Real-time triggers allow the detection of errors at each layer of the protocol, filters focus analytic tools on specific types of traffic, and traffic overviews and measurement markers help designers understand traffic from entire bursts to nanosecond-resolution detail.

The modular AXIe blade form of the U4431A allows users to analyze multiple M-PHY buses simultaneously. These M-PHY busses can be time-correlated with MIPI D-PHY CSI-2 and DSI-1, PCIe, DDR, and HDMI busses—or even generic high-speed logic analyzer modules. Designers can purchase as many lanes and as much memory and protocol support as they need today, and upgrade in the future.

The introduction of UFS and UniPro support on the U4431A MIPI M-PHY analyzer marks Agilent’s entry into M-PHY protocol analysis. Additional announcements later this year will focus on SSIC (USB-3 on M-PHY), M-PCIe (PCIe on M-PHY), and CSI-3. These products will complement Agilent’s complete M-PHY solutions, including transmitter and receiver physical layer testing.

The U44431A MIPI M-PHY protocol analyzer can be ordered now and is expected to ship in September. Prices start at approximately $100,000.

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