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Agilent Technologies Offers Simplified Receiver Tolerance Test Setup for USB 3.0, SATA and SAS

Agilent Technologies Inc. (NYSE: A) today announced a second data channel option and a new analysis option for SER/FER for its J-BERT N4903B high-performance serial BERT. The new options significantly simplify receiver tolerance testing of USB 3.0 and SATA devices.

The J-BERT’s second output channel option provides more flexible characterization and compliance testing of receivers by enabling cross-talk testing, Out-of-Band (OOB) tests, and emulation of 2-tap de-emphasis signals on a serial BERT.

The new symbol error analysis option allows error counting of coded, packetized and retimed data streams. This significantly simplifies jitter tolerance testing of devices, using retimed loopback modes, such as SATA, USB 3.0, SAS, and MIPI M-Phy.

USB 3.0 and SATA are popular examples of digital interfaces using 8B/10B coded and packetized data streams with retimed loopback. These digital interfaces require special test capabilities for the characterization and compliance testing of receivers.

Coding is used to limit the number of consecutive 0s or 1s in transmitted bit streams. Running disparity is used to achieve DC balance. The transmitter and receiver on both ends of the link are clocked with independent reference clocks. Differences in the reference clocks are compensated by inserting or deleting filler symbols, such as ALIGN or SKIP symbols.

During receiver tolerance testing, the device under test (DUT) operates in a retimed loopback mode. This means that the bit stream received by the BERT analyzer can be different in data rate and bit pattern from what the BERT generator sent out, even if no receive error occurred. This behavior is challenging for traditional bit error ratio testers that expect a predictable pattern to compare with the actually received bits. Receiver tolerance testing required either external error-counting equipment or a BERT, which had pattern capture mode to retrieve the error ratio from a DUT’s built-in error counter.

“This is a significant milestone in adapting the industry’s leading receiver tolerance test solution to the latest requirements,” said J�rgen Beck, general manager of Agilent’s Digital Photonic Test product line. “Receiver tolerance testing is considerably simplified with the second data channel option and the symbol error analysis option for J-BERT. Once again, we prove our commitment to enable R&D teams to release the next generation of robust high-speed digital interfaces for the computer, consumer and storage industries.”

Benefits of the second output channel option of the Agilent J-BERT N4903B include:

a second data output with independently adjustable output parameters and individual 32 MB user pattern and PRBS generation;
increased test flexibility with the second data output channel that can be used for multiplexing to higher data rates, generating controlling signals for sequence triggering, for cross-talk testing, or when using external channel addition for emulating 3-level signals or 2-tap de-emphasis; and
an upgradeable option to address future requirements.
Benefits of the Agilent N4903B option SER/FER analysis include:

integrated receiver tolerance testing capability for USB3, SATA, SAS, MIPI M-Phy by analyzing coded, packetized data and filters filler symbols;
filtering of up to four user-definable filler symbols;
filtering of consecutive occurrences up to 12.5 Gb/s without dead time;
display of calculated bit error or symbol error ratio in real-time;
ability to enter and monitor sent and received patterns in 8B/10B coded or uncoded bit or symbol format;
handles running disparity automatically; and
an upgrade option to existing Agilent’s J-BERT N4903B.
J-BERT N4903B was chosen by the DesignCon committee as finalist under the category Test & Measurement.

Agilent Technologies offers a portfolio of solutions for testing USB and SATA, addressing all of the current variants and spanning the entire lifecycle from R&D and design verification through official compliance testing. The company participates actively in the USB Implementers Forum (USB-IF) and the SATA-Interoperability program allowing it to influence and respond rapidly to changes in the test specifications.

Additional information about Agilent’s J-BERT N4903B new options is available at High-resolution images are available at

Additional information about Agilent’s SATA and USB3 receiver test solutions is available at and

Backgrounders about USB and SATA technology and Agilent’s test solutions are available at and

U.S. Pricing and Availability

The Agilent J-BERT N4903B Option 002 “Pattern and PRBS on auxiliary data output” is now available for ordering. Pricing for the Agilent Option 002 is $24,800.

The Agilent J-BERT N4903B Option A02 “SER/FER analysis” is now available for ordering. Pricing for the Agilent Option A02 is $14,500.

About DesignCon

DesignCon is the definitive event for electronic design experts spanning chip, package, board, and system domains, addressing common issues in signal integrity, power management, interconnection, and design verification.

Agilent experts will offer various technical presentations throughout the show. For more information and a free pass to the event, visit Since 1998, Agilent has been a sponsor of DesignCon in partnership with the International Engineering Consortium (IEC).

Agilent’s Digital Test Standards Program

Agilent’s solutions for digital applications are driven and supported by Agilent experts who are involved in various international standard committees. We call it the Agilent Digital Test Standards Program. Our experts are active in the Joint Electronic Devices Engineering Council (JEDEC), PCI Special Interest Group (PCI-SIG(r)), Video Electronics Standards Association (VESA), Serial ATA International Organization (SATA-IO), Serial Attached SCSI (T10), USB-Implementers Forum (USB-IF), Mobile Industry Processor Interface (MIPI) Alliance, Ethernet standards (IEEE 802.3), Optical Internetworking Forum (OIF), and many others. Our involvement in these standards groups and their related workshops, plugfests, and seminars enables Agilent to bring the right solutions to the market when our customers need them.

About Agilent Technologies
Agilent Technologies Inc. (NYSE: A) is the world’s premier measurement company and a technology leader in communications, electronics, life sciences and chemical analysis. The company’s 17,000 employees serve customers in more than 110 countries. Agilent had net revenues of $4.5 billion in fiscal 2009. Information about Agilent is available on the Web at

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