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Agilent Demos Production Test Standard
Apr 2003
PALO ALTO, Calif., April 28 -- Agilent Technologies Inc. announced today it has conducted the first successful demonstration of the IEEE 1149.6 standard for boundary-scan testing of advanced, high-speed networks. Boundary-scan is a method for testing chips on printed circuit boards by building the chip with additional input and output pins that are only used for test purposes. The new IEEE standard is expected to help network equipment manufacturers improve product quality and accelerate time to market.

The demonstration was conducted with an Agilent-developed application-specific integrated circuit (ASIC) that includes over 30 serializer/deserializer channels, each operating at up to 3.125 Gb/s. Also known as AC-Extest, this standard enables reliable testing of integrated circuit (IC) boards designed for high-speed networks.

Agilent and Cisco Systems led the development of AC-Extest, which tests AC-coupled connections between ICs that reside on network equipment printed circuit boards. Until recently, these interconnections were DC-coupled, and boundary-scan test techniques were the primary method for achieving quality assurance. However, new higher speed Gigahertz (GHz) technology introduced AC-coupled connections between ICs, rendering widely adopted testing techniques obsolete. The IEEE 1149.6 standard satisfies the need for an alternate test approach by extending compatible boundary-scan methodology into the AC realm.

"With the establishment of the AC-Extest standard, an industry-wide, method for reliably testing today's high-speed networking products is now a reality," said Bill Eklow, boundary-scan technology manager at Cisco Systems and chair of the AC Extest Industry Working Group.

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