Taking Interoperability Testing Across the Globe

The Serial ATA International Organization (SATA-IO) hosted a SATA plugfest and Interoperability Workshop (IW) in Taipei, Taiwan from May 20 – 23, 2013. I was asked to attend, give a presentation at the training event, and perform tests for certification in the Interoperability Suite, as part of the SATA Logo program. Devices that pass Logo testing are placed on the Integrators List, maintained by SATA-IO on their website, and allowed to use the SATA Logo on their products, packaging, and marketing materials.

The plugfest/IW is similar to events held here at the University of New Hampshire InterOperability Laboratory (UNH-IOL). Vendors and test equipment manufacturers get together as a group to run tests on their equipment. The plugfest portion is a less formal environment for devices early in development process to get a sense of where they stand. The IW is a structured set of tests where vendors bring equipment that is close to being released to see if they meet the requirements set forth in the documentation for Logo certification. In addition to the Interop Suite that I staffed, Andy Baldman (UNH-IOL Staff) helped in the Agilent Phy suite. Other suites contained test equipment from Agilent, Tek, JDSU, ULINK, ETC, and Teledyne LeCroy, and made use of BERT scopes, AWGs, MSOs, and Digital test equipment.

It was very interesting to see the ways in which everyone interacted. On the first day there was a technical training event. This was a series of 30 – 60 minute lectures explaining the tests that would be performed throughout the rest of the week. At 2:30pm it was my turn to give a presentation on how interop testing would be performed in my suite. Before the presentation I was incredibly nervous, but getting through it was a big accomplishment. All the preparation and practice paid off; it went really well and I received a lot of good feedback.

Starting on the second day, the IW took over most of the 6th floor of the Westin, Taipei hotel. Everyone had their doors propped open and people brought their devices from room to room for testing. I enjoyed the way this setup allowed me to meet everyone and learn about our customers, what they’re trying to do, and how we can test more efficiently and effectively. Test suites included everything necessary for certification: Phy (TSG/RSG/OOB/TXRX), Digital, Interop, and Mechanical. At the completion of tests, the results documents were completed and vendors were given pass or fail status before leaving the event.

The trip was an amazing learning experience. It gave me the opportunity to connect with a number of industry professionals, and it was incredibly rewarding to see how the work we do here at the UNH-IOL plays such an influential role in the business world.

David Wyman, SATA Technician