32G Fibre Channel Transmitter Test Suite - Utilizing New Speeds

The University of New Hampshire InterOperability Laboratory (UNH-IOL) has just released a new 32G Fibre Channel (32GFC) test suite based on the latest physical interface standard for Fibre Channel, FC-PI-6. With storage industries constantly driving towards faster speeds, Fibre Channel leads the way in FC-PI-6 with 32GFC technology. The UNH-IOL is constantly staying ahead of the curve with the latest technologies by updating test suites to enhance end user experiences and while also validating device compliance. In order for the UNH-IOL to stay on the leading edge of Fibre Channel technology, this test suite provides new services to its customers who are beginning to utilize this new speed.

Validation procedures are defined by a complementary standard to FC-PI-6 called Methodologies for Signal Quality Specification - 2 (FC-MSQS-2). This document was developed in concert with FC-PI-6, and provides standardized test methodologies to be used when validating device compliance to FC-PI-6. The test plan developed by the UNH-IOL is driven by FC-MSQS-2.

This test suite addresses Clause 6.3 of FC-PI-6, which examines the electrical characteristics of a host device's output and a module's electrical output. The new 32GFC test suite aims to verify that a device under test, either host or module, complies with this standard. Two groups of tests are presented in the test suite; the first involves transmitter signal compliance to FC-PI-6, where the second examines return loss characteristics of hosts and modules.

The first group of tests examines a variety of characteristics that are common to both hosts and modules. First, the data rate of the device under test (DUT) is verified to meet the specified tolerance for 32GFC transmission. Then, the differential output voltage of the DUT is observed for compliance. This is followed by verification of minimum transition time. Finally, an eye diagram is recorded and the eye height and width is measured to verify compliance. In addition to these measurements, a module's eye diagram is further scrutinized to verify that the vertical eye closure value does not exceed the standardized value of 4dB. Lastly, both hosts and modules undergo AC common mode noise verification.

The second group of tests verifies the return loss characteristics of both hosts and modules from 50MHz to 28.05GHz, and uses S-parameter-based measurements. By measuring theses characteristics of a device, important information can be garnered regarding the health of the lane by measuring reflected energy. These values should be low, which would indicate that most of the energy on the line is transmitted into the device, as opposed to reflected back to the source. Both the differential return loss as well as differential to common mode conversion characteristics are verified to be compliant to both Clause 6.3 and Clause 6.6 of FC-PI-6.

By utilizing the new test plan, customers can gain valuable information regarding the health of their device's transmitter. Both host testing and modules are examined, providing a comprehensive look at FC-PI-6 Clause 6.3 compliance for all devices. With this new test plan, the UNH-IOL looks to remain on the leading edge of Fibre Channel technology, providing services at the latest speeds for its customers.

If you are interested in learning more about the 32G Fibre Channel Test Suite or other Fibre Channel Consortiums please visit our testing pages and download today.