Automated High Speed Ethernet Test

| Information and Communication Technology

Automation software allows for precise and time-saving compliance tests

Rohde & Schwarz releases automated test system for compliance testing high-speed Ethernet cable assemblies up to IEEE 802.3ck

New compliance test automation software from Rohde & Schwarz for IEEE 802.3 cable assemblies allows for precise and time-saving compliance tests of high-speed cables and backplanes according to the IEEE 802.3bj, by, cd and ck standards.

The R&S ZNrun vector network analyser automation suite controls a vector network analyser and a switching system from Rohde & Schwarz to provide automated testing of high-speed Ethernet cable assemblies, considerably reducing the testing time and potential errors compared to manual Ethernet cable assembly test methods. Rohde & Schwarz has been demonstrating the approach it has taken at trade exhibitions starting at the recent DesignCon show in Santa Clara, California.

Increased Data Volume

As the volume of data transferred via internet and the number of data centres across the world increase, proper testing of Ethernet cable assemblies becomes crucial. As direct attach copper (DAC) cables are the most economical connection method for short data connections, they are widely used in high-speed networks and data centres.

Installations include a huge number of these DAC cables, and their performance is vital for the whole system. IEEE 802.3bj and IEEE 802.3by cover data rates of 25 Gbps per lane, IEEE 802.3cd goes up to 50 Gbps per lane. The latest IEEE 802.3ck standard further doubles the data rate to 100 Gbps per lane, enabling cable assembly configurations of 100GBASE-CR1, 200GBASE-CR2, 400GBASE-CR4 and 800GBASE-CR8.

Rohde & Schwarz has managed to tackle these challenges very efficiently with two new options for the R&S ZNrun vector network analyser automation suite. The R&S ZNrun-K410 is designed for automatic testing of cable assemblies according to IEEE 802.3bj, by and cd, and brings considerable time-savings to users. The instrument includes the automation of the measurement, post processing of Channel Operating Margin (COM) and Effective Return Loss (ERL) results, Pass/Fail and margin analysis and the generation of the test report, thus drastically reducing the overall test time. The R&S ZNrun-K411 is already prepared for testing cable assemblies according to the IEEE 802.3ck Ethernet standard, which will reach data rates of 800 Gbps for 800GBASE-CR8 configurations.

The test setups are based on the corresponding vector network analyser such as the R&S ZNA or R&S ZNB. To reduce the handling effort for the user, the R&S OSP open switch and control platform is supported to provide an economic multiport system. The whole setup is controlled by the R&S ZNrun vector network analyser automation suite with the compliance options R&S ZNrun-K410 or -K411, automating the complete test sequence, data collection, post processing and test report generation.

During the system’s first public outing, Rohde & Schwarz demonstrated it at the DesignCon 2022 event at the beginning of April, where visitors to the Santa Clara convention centre were able to experience the verification of an IEEE 802.3ck high-speed cable assembly based on Ethernet compliance automation using the new R&S ZNrun option.

The R&S ZNrun-K410 option will be available by mid-2022, followed by the R&S ZNrun-K411 later in the year.

Jonathan Newell
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