Analog Angle Article

Gigabit backplane bus transceiver embeds oscilloscope-like function for signal-integrity assessment

Santa Clara, CA—Providing backplane bus transceiver functions in the 6.375 Gbps range, the VSC3406 from Vitesse Semiconductor Corp. also incorporates what the vendor calls a significant, innovative waveform viewing technology. The embedded VScope™ function allows uses to see and assess waveform integrity in real time at the input of the clock/data recovery (CDR) function, both locally and remotely, similar to using an oscilloscope.

With a non-blocking, multicast architecture, the VSC3406 has six differential transmit and receive interfaces with on-chip termination. It operates from 0.125 to 6.375 Gbps, and includes a 2:1 rate multiplier for doubling bandwidth over existing backplanes. The IC's architecture and multirate CDR make it a match for various protocols, including Gigabit Ethernet, XAUI, Fibre Channel, Serial Attached SCSI and Serial ATA (SAS and SATA), and PCIe.

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The VScope technology functions as a “per-pin” oscilloscope and delivers a view of what is going on inside the IC, this enabling network-based signal-health monitoring, critical for system debug and remote operation. It is built into the high-speed receivers and allows viewing of the data, without interrupting data flow. Its pick-off point is just after the equalizer, ahead of the sampling circuits.

The VSC3406 is housed in an 81-lead, 10×10mm FCBGA package.

Pricing and availaibility: $60 each in volume; samples second quarter 2008.

For more information: Vitesse Semiconductor Corp.,

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