Software Offers Simultaneous Viewing Of Physical Layer Signals

Software Offers Simultaneous Viewing Of Physical Layer Signals

The ProtoSync PE options for WaveMaster and WavePro Series of oscilloscopes go beyond simple decode annotation on an oscilloscope display of oscilloscopes go beyond simple decode annotation on an oscilloscope display, according to its developer LeCroy Corp. It provides the intuitive LeCroy PETracer Protocol and BitTracer view of the oscilloscope-captured waveform with a time and zoom correlation of physical-layer signals, protocol packets, and logic-analyser byte views on one instrument.

While other manufacturers, including LeCroy, have provided a PCIe decode annotation on the oscilloscope, ProtoSync PE is claimed as the first to be implemented on an oscilloscope of the intuitive graphical user interface of a hardware protocol analyser information display. ProtoSync PE is compatible with PCIe Gen1.x, 2.0, and 3.0 from 1 to 4 lanes.

The protocol analysis software is a viewing, analysing, and trace printing subset of the software provided with LeCroy’s PETracer (ProtoSync PE) or PETracer Summit (ProtoSync PE-B) hardware protocol analyser product family. Therefore, those familiar with LeCroy protocol analysers will find many similarities in its operation. In addition, the synchronization of the oscilloscope and its protocol analyser tools will make it easy for hardware signal integrity, systems, and software/FPGA engineers to work together to debug complex problems.

All versions of ProtoSync PE contain the basic PCIEbus D data-link-layer decode annotation on the oscilloscope. This software also includes an indexed table display of decoded information. If a specific index in the table display is touched, a zoom of that particular protocol packet is automatically created on the oscilloscope grid, or vice versa. This is particularly helpful when protocol error frames or other anomalies need debugging by viewing the physical-layer signal.

ProtoSync PE adds full PCIe transaction-layer decode in PETracer protocol view format. The zoom to protocol packet is further enhanced by synchronising the protocol packet in the PETracer software to the decode annotation in the PCIEbus D oscilloscope software, and to the physical-layer signal on the oscilloscope display.

As a result, engineers can easily capture a physical-layer PCIe waveform, view all transaction layer data, and correlate it to other oscilloscope-captured signals or activity on the bus that could be causing improper operation. This comes in handy when hardware signal integrity, systems, and software/FPGA engineers need to coordinate efforts to solve complex problems.

ProtoSync PE-B provides additional understanding via a BitTracer view of the signal, which combines the advantages of a protocol analyser with those of a logic analyser. Both the protocol view and BitTracer view may be used simultaneously with the PCIEbus D decode annotation to provide maximum insight.

Since both the protocol analysis software and the oscilloscope user interface employ touch-screen user interfaces, the most elegant way to leverage the ProtoSync solution is to use a second touch-screen display. It’s attached above the oscilloscope and aligned with the main oscilloscope display.

Thus, both the oscilloscope and the protocol analysis software can run on full displays and provide the maximum amount of information to the user during debug. In addition, two touch-screen displays make it simple to select a protocol packet in either the protocol analyser software or the oscilloscope user interface and zoom to the information in the other program. This is more convenient than a conventional “Alt-Tab” toggle between two programs on one display, or an additional non-touch screen display.

The second touch-screen display may be purchased separately for WaveMaster 8 Zi or WavePro 7 Zi oscilloscopes (Zi-EXTDISP-15), or it can be purchased as part of a ProtoSync PE bundle (ProtoSync PE-B-EXTDISP). It’s only available with the Zi Series of oscilloscopes.

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