Obtain Test IP from the Cloud

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Need test IP? With the establishment of its CloudTesting Service (CTS) operation, Advantest is offering test IP that you can license on a monthly basis. CTS will lend you a free desktop testing terminal or station, which connects to your PC via a USB cable. Stations are available with 32 and 128 I/O channels (the CX1000P and CX1000D, respectively) operating at frequencies to 100 MHz.

Then, you can shop online for monthly test IP licenses (Figure 1) and purchase accessories such as cables. IP is available to support signal generation, voltage and current measurement, functional test of digital devices, linearity measurement of analog devices, and characterization of printed circuit boards. All you need to do is prepare your test jig, load board, or socket.

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Figure 1. CloudTesting Service IP Shopping Cart

Speaking at SEMICON West in July at the U.S. debut of the service, Manabu Kimura, CTS president, said CTS was introduced in Japan in 2012. At the International Test Conference in September, he explained that CTS was not an acquisition but rather an organization that developed within Advantest. He said that CTS leverages advances in cloud computing to substitute a business model based on licensing for physical ownership of an asset. With the CTS model, test IP resides in the cloud, with customers accessing the IP though their personal computers.

Initially, Kimura said, CTS attracted the attention of universities, and the CTS website offers an application note describing student projects, including measuring the characteristics of a diode and the input/output characteristics of a transistor.1 The experiments require IP blocks such as the Current Measurement, Voltage Measurement, and Shmoo Plot tools. An additional application note provides more detail on the diode measurement.2 The CTS approach is suitable for students, he said, because it does not require special training—users set up tests with an easy-to-use graphical user interface.

At ITC, Mani Balaraman, Advantest vice president of marketing, said, “Interest has now extended beyond academia and into industry.” He added that the ease of use of the service lets engineers in industry focus on their value-added activity—not on mastering the test equipment. The low cost of the service enables multiple engineers within an organization to have their own test station. As a result, engineers need not compete with each other for access to lab test equipment or plead for access to manufacturing test equipment.

To use the service, you first determine the basic CloudTesting Lab (CTLab) software you will need to license based on the number of pins your DUT has (32 or less, 128 or less, or 256 or less, with 256-pin DUTs requiring two CTLab licenses) and the number of power supplies required (less than three or three or more). This step also determines which testing terminal or terminals CTS will lend you.

Next, you choose IP based on what device you will be testing. For a digital device, you can select Power Supply Current Measurement IP, DC Parametric Measurement IP, or Functional Measurement IP. To test an A/D converter, you can choose ADC DC Linearity Measurement IP or ADC AC Characteristic Measurement IP. Corresponding DC linearity and AC characteristic tools are available for D/A converters, and various arithmetic plug-ins are offered for the data-converter IP.

Finally, you can select optional IP such as the Waveform Viewer Tool. Plug-ins let you view data-converter DC linearity and AC characteristic results; another plug-in lets you overlay multiple waveforms. You also can select a Pattern Viewer Tool; a plug-in lets you edit patterns. In addition, the Shmoo Plot Tool can help you determine under what conditions your DUT stops working—you can set up shmoo conditions in advance and then determine the pass/fail transition point.

In addition, you can choose the STIL Reader for CX1000 Tool, which can convert STIL-format pattern files into CTLab-format pattern files to let you generate test waveform conditions from STIL. And finally, the System Condition Monitor Tool can display hardware measurement conditions on your PC and export the conditions to a CSV file.

The CTS cloud-based IP model, Kimura concluded, furthers his organization’s mission of putting a tester in every lab.

References

Student Experiment, Advantest CloudTesting Service, Application Note.

Measuring semiconductor devices using the CloudTesting Service, Advantest CloudTesting Service, Application Note.

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