Test MIPI links in mobile computing products

June 21, 2013 // By Graham Prophet
Agilent has announced a MIPI M-PHY protocol analyser for mobile computing applications; deep memory and raw data views give greater insight into universal flash storage and unipro buses

The U4431A MIPITM M-PHY protocol analyser, following on from the earlier U4421A (pictured), for next-generation mobile computing applications, gives engineers in R&D and manufacturing deep insight into MIPI M-PHY-based designs.

“The M-PHY physical layer is critical to the implementation of next-generation mobile computing products, including smartphones, tablets and laptops,” said Joel Huloux, chairman of the MIPI Alliance. “Testing and validating the implementation of MIPI Alliance’s specification is essential for our members to deliver quality products. We are pleased to see Agilent delivering new tools for analyzing the UniPro interface.”

In today’s mobile computing products designers are adding multiple high-speed busses to manage multiple high-resolution cameras, high-speed peripherals, advanced graphics adapters, and massive memory buffers. This increasing demand for bandwidth has driven the expansion of the M-PHY specification to include four-lane, 6.0-Gbit/secoptions. The U4431A offers up to 16 GB of analysis memory on each lane, allowing designers to capture tens of seconds of system traffic, even at these high speeds.

In addition, the Agilent U4431A offers “Raw Mode,” a feature that lets designers see the time-correlated 8b/10b data that underlies each protocol. These states can be displayed as a waveform or listing, providing insight into how a packet is formed at the physical layer.

This visibility extends throughout the M-PHY protocol stack, allowing error detection from the physical layer to the link and from the transport layers to the high-level application layer. These views allow engineers to unravel data as it travels throughout the entire transmission process.

“Leading silicon manufacturers tell us that their technologies have the potential to place low-cost computing in front of every person on the planet,” said Ross Nelson, general manager of Agilent’s Digital Debug Solutions team. “A tool like Raw Mode helps them gain insight into every corner of their designs, helping them solve turn-on problems much faster, and allowing them to spend more time developing and optimizing features.”

The U4431A also offers tools to isolate