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From Bob Helsel,
Editor, AXIe Newsletter

Welcome to the December 2014 issue of the AXIe Newsletter.

LinkedInOur AXIe Consortium LinkedIn membership numbers continue to increase and we are now a community of over 332 members. 

YoutubeIf you want to stay abreast of the AXIe standard you can subscribe to the new AXIe consortium YouTube Channel, or view the latest AXIe-0 Overview presentation on the website.

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AXIe Data Streaming Drives Mil/Aero and Wireless Applications

By Lauri Viitas, Guzik Test and Measurement

AXIe is a modular instrument standard, abbreviated from AdvancedTCA Extensions for Instrumentation and Test.  AXIe is often referred to as the “big brother” of PXI because, despite its much larger module envelope, it acts logically as a PXIe (PXI Express) system.  Communication is performed over a 4-lane PCIe  (PCI Express) bus on the backplane either through external or embedded controllers. To a controller, an AXIe system is just another PXI chassis, though one with much larger board area and power capability.  Specifically, an AXIe module offers eight times the volume of a 3U PXI module, and typically can support up to 200 watts per each chassis slot compared to PXI’s 30 watts.

While AXIe is well known for offering very high speed digitizers and AWGs (arbitrary waveform generators), it also excels at streaming long data records to or from these devices.  Example applications include wireless communication, radar emulation and test, and electronic warfare.  These long data records are typically used to search for rare or infrequent events, often in the development phase of a product or system, but also for monitoring deployed systems.


The Five Instrument Standards
That Rule our Industry

By Larry Desjardin, Modular Methods

If you are integrating a test system, you will need to communicate between the test system controller and the instruments.  The days where GP-IB was the default choice are long gone, and five new standards now reign. For traditional instruments, GP-IB has been largely replaced by LAN, based on the LXI protocols.  The strongest growth has come from modular instruments driven by PXI, but also consisting of VXI and AXIe.  And you are likely to use software drivers managed by the IVI Foundation. What are these standards all about, and what are their latest status? read about the latest developments here.

LXI rules the roost for conventional interfaces

LXI enables programming of traditional instruments via LAN. Image courtesy of LXI Consortium

LXI (LAN eXtensions for Instrumentation) specifies the interface and protocols for communicating with an instrument over ethernet.  It has largely replaced GP-IB as the interface of choice for traditional box instruments.  With perhaps 80% of the automated marketplace still integrating traditional “box” instruments, it is not hard to proclaim LXI as the most widely deployed of all of the instrument standards.  

The use model for LXI is similar to that of GP-IB, as ASCII messages are sent to the instrument and back, but at GbE speeds.  The similarity to GP-IB made it a natural successor, and 52 companies are now members of the LXI Consortium, offering over 2600 products.

This year, the LXI Consortium has launched an effort to develop a reference design in order to decrease the barrier to entry for new vendors and increase adoption.  This effort is expected to be completed by Spring 2015.

While LXI is the most widely deployed standard, it is not the fastest growing. That title goes to PXI…






New AXIe Products

The members of the AXIe Consortium continue to release a steady flow of new products based on the AXIe standard, some of which are spotlighted below:

AXIe-1 Base Architecture Specification Products

AXIe 65 GSa/s & 20 GHz High-Speed Arbitrary Waveform Generator

GT-ASG18A Advanced Signal Generator

M9521A AXIe System Module

M9514A AXIe 14-Slot Chassis


IPMI Shelf Manager Card With Redundant IPMB

M9703A AXIe eight-channel wideband digital receiver/digitizer

M8061A Multiplexer 2:1 With De-Emphasis 28 Gb/s

M8192A Multi-Channel Synchronization Module for M8190A

ADC 6000 Series AXIe-based Digitizer Module

DDR Logic Analyzer U4154A

AWG (Arbitrary Waveform Generator) M8190A

AXIe-3.1 Semiconductor Test Extension Products

AX500 - AXIe Benchtop System

High Volume Production Test System



Using a Wideband AWG
to Optimize Data Throughput
with Multi-Level Signaling Techniques

Submitted by Keysight Technologies

Overview and motivation
Increasing the data throughput on high-speed digital interfaces can be accomplished in at least three ways:

  1. Using multiple parallel signals
  2. Increasing the symbol rate
  3. Using higher order modulation schemes that carry more than 1 bit per symbol (such as NRZ)

Traditionally, #1 and #2 are used because NRZ data transmission is very well  understood and can be realized in a cost-effective way, both on the transmit side as well as the receive side. However, there are limitations.

Using a large number of parallel signals requires a higher pin-count on chips and more traces on backplanes, cables and boards, which makes the overall solution more  expensive and eventually impractical.

Increasing the symbol rate works well up to a certain point. But board traces have significant attenuation at higher frequencies. Depending on the length of the trace, increasing the symbol rate beyond ~32 Gbaud is very difficult. For technologies such as chip-on-glass used in smart-phone displays, the threshold is at even lower symbol rates of 1 to 2 GBaud.


Thanks to all our readers.
Bob Helsel, Editor


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