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New Software Simplifies Automotive Ethernet Testing

The Signal Separation solution for Tektronix’s 5 and 6 Series mixed-signal oscilloscopes helps solve tough signal-analysis and debug testing challenges.

As the move toward Automotive Ethernet or IEEE 802.3bw (formerly BroadR-Reach) technology in vehicles ramps up, comprehensive design validation is vital to ensure interoperability and reliable operation across multiple electronic control units (ECUs). Current Automotive Ethernet testing solutions require that engineers install a directional coupler to separate the full duplex signal. This adds insertion and return loss and makes it difficult to determine if an error is a result of the system or the additional hardware.

To help eliminate these problems, Tektronix developed two software packages that are intended to ease Automotive Ethernet testing, debug, and protocol decode. They can be used with the company’s 5 and 6 Series mixed signal oscilloscopes (MSOs).

The first package, dubbed “Signal Separation,” enables automotive engineers to perform Automotive Ethernet testing without disrupting the ECU system or cutting the Ethernet cable to install a directional coupler. The second, Tektronix’s PAM3 analysis package, provides in-depth insight into signal characteristics at the system level.

The Signal Separation software separates the full duplex signal by looking at voltage and current waveforms from both master and slave test points and provides separated signals using a proprietary algorithm. This method displays true ECU signals without the need for a directional coupler and provides full protocol debug of master and slave ECUs simultaneously.

The easy-to-use software helps reduce testing costs and improves measurement accuracy. It supports full life-cycle Automotive Ethernet testing from design through service. Users can use the solution for in-car testing, as well as signal-integrity testing during cranking or other scenarios.

Advanced PAM3 Analysis

The three levels of PAM3 in Automotive Ethernet increase complexity in signaling and place new demands on test methodology, partly because the three amplitudes produce two eye diagrams. The new PAM3 analysis package provides a wide range of measurements with software clock recovery that offer further insight into signal characteristics, speeding up validation and characterization of PAM3 designs with different cable lengths, noise conditions, or ECU configurations. The solution also enables eye-opening measurements, eye-mask testing, jitter separation, and bit-error-rate (BER) plotting in a real ECU environment. 

In addition to signal and protocol analysis, the Tektronix solution includes Automotive Ethernet physical-layer compliance testing as per Open Alliance TC8 specification with full test automation and detailed pass/fail reporting.  

Tektronix’s 5 Series MSO and 6 Series MSO oscilloscopes deliver up to 8-GHz analog bandwidth, 25-Gsample/s sample rates, and a 12-bit analog-to-digital converter (ADC).

Signal Separation (Option 5/6-AUTOEN-SS) and PAM-3 Automotive Ethernet Signal is available now. For more information, go here

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