Over the next decade, ever-increasing integration requirements will drive the test industry as computing, communications, and consumer electronics further converge.
The industry also will face compounding pressure from the globalization of the product development cycle. This is caused by the rise of Asia, China, and India in the electronics industry, creating a shift in the worldwide supply chain.
A key trend has emerged to meet these challenges. The adoption of the LAN eXtensions for Instrumentation (LXI) hardware specification gives test engineers an open instrumentation platform, comprising instruments that use low-cost Ethernet as the system backbone.
High-performance LXI instruments can be used on the bench via their front panel and display. Modular versions of LXI instruments, without a front panel, can be mounted in a test rack.
They can use the same measurement hardware and are free from the overhead costs and constraints of a card cage. The LXI standard uses a standard Web browser for simplified setup and troubleshooting from the PC.
The move toward the Ethernet-based LXI standard makes sense, especially given the fact that LANs have surpassed the speed and functionality of the general-purpose interface bus. Ethernet features a very high throughput, longevity, and the support of tools readily available in the computer world.
With Ethernet, instruments can be ?hung? on the Internet for users to access from around the world. Just imagine an engineer in California connecting in real time to the same measurement tool as his contract manufacturer in Taiwan, as they work in concert through manufacturing issues.Adoption of LXI enables improvements in speed, optimization, and risk minimization that simply weren't possible previously. In the near future, they will be crucial to a company's success in a wide range of market segments.