MIPI Alliance debuts gigabit debug interface specs

Nov. 2, 2015

Piscataway, NJ, and Taipei, Taiwan. The MIPI Alliance, an international organization that develops interface specifications for mobile and mobile-influenced industries, has introduced its MIPI Gigabit Debug family of specifications. The specifications enable companies to debug and optimize mobile systems throughout the lifecycle of a product’s development. The specifications also facilitate remote debugging of products that are part of the Internet of Things.

The MIPI Alliance introduced the specifications in conjunction with the MIPI Open and Demo Day in Taipei, Taiwan.

“Debugging has always been an important part of mobile system development, but the process has become increasingly difficult because today’s components are more complex than ever before and often embedded in system-on-chips, which prohibits the use of traditional, dedicated debug and test equipment,” said Joel Huloux, chairman of the board of MIPI Alliance.

“The solutions we’re announcing [October 29] will standardize the interfaces and protocols used for debug instrumentation to make testing more convenient, reduce costs, and help companies expedite the delivery of high-performing products to mobile and mobile-influenced sectors,” he said. “The solutions can also be used to tune devices for optimum performance.”

The new specifications can be used by silicon chip vendors as well as OEMs that are deploying components in their product designs.

“Debug and test are essential tools for companies that are building and optimizing products, but the ultimate beneficiary is the consumer, who gains access to better, more robust products,” said Gary Cooper, chair of the MIPI Alliance Debug Working Group and systems engineer at Texas Instruments. “The MIPI Debug Working Group is pleased to introduce these solutions that will maximize the utility and efficiency of debug tools.”

The MIPI Gigabit Debug portfolio includes two recently released network independent high-level protocol specifications—the SneakPeek Protocol specification (SPP) and the Gigabit Trace Framework Appendix to the Trace Wrapper Protocol (TWP) specification. The portfolio also includes a forthcoming adapter, Gigabit Debug for USB, which facilitates use of the protocols on USB connections.

SneakPeek is a communications protocol that is used between a mobile terminal and external equipment employed to debug terminal hardware and software. The protocol is bidirectional, enabling engineers to interactively query the system state and control it. The MIPI Gigabit Trace Framework is used to stream nonintrusive trace data over high speed connections to the host for debugging. It uses and updates the MIPI Alliance Trace Wrapper Protocol.

The Gigabit Debug for USB specification makes it possible to run SneakPeek and Gigabit Trace over a USB connection that might also carry other traffic. The specification has been approved by the MIPI Alliance Debug Working Group and is expected to be approved by the MIPI board of directors before the end of the year.

The MIPI Alliance Debug Working Group is nearing completion of Gigabit Debug for IP Sockets, an adapter that can implement SneakPeek and Gigabit Trace Framework on IP-based connections to facilitate remote debugging of devices, such as IoT products, over any wireless or wired network. This specification is expected to be submitted to the MIPI board of directors for approval in the first quarter of 2016.

The MIPI Alliance Debug Working Group is also expanding the traditional debug and testing paradigm by developing capability to evaluate production or near-production terminals. The working group has finalized work on an update to the MIPI Narrow Interface for Debug and Trace (NIDnT), which defines how to use available physical ports on a device to perform hardware debug and trace on a product’s final form factor. The latest update, which will leverage use of the USB Type-C interface, is expected to be submitted to the MIPI board of directors for approval before the end of the year. A standalone MIPI High Speed Trace Interface, also in development, will support exporting trace data over high speed serial links, such as digital display interfaces, to an external trace receiver. This interface is slated for submission to the MIPI Alliance board of directors for approval during the first quarter of 2016.

The MIPI Alliance offers MIPI Gigabit Debug and other specifications in its debug portfolio independently of one another, enabling companies to select and use those that meet their particular needs. For more information about MIPI Gigabit Debug, visit http://mipi.org/specifications/debug.

The MIPI Alliance Debug Working group welcomes new members and contributions to its efforts. For information about the working group, visit http://mipi.org/working-groups/debug.

About the Author

Rick Nelson | Contributing Editor

Rick is currently Contributing Technical Editor. He was Executive Editor for EE in 2011-2018. Previously he served on several publications, including EDN and Vision Systems Design, and has received awards for signed editorials from the American Society of Business Publication Editors. He began as a design engineer at General Electric and Litton Industries and earned a BSEE degree from Penn State.

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