5 Questions You Should Ask When Choosing a Protocol Analyzer:
When choosing a Protocol Analyzer most engineers or managers ask for basic questions like protocol specification support and the kind of trigger required on the bus. However, these are five very important questions that are asked only by experienced validation engineers. The five important questions are as follows:
Question 1: Does the Protocol Analyzer support Simultaneous debugging?
Most of the time during the design validation process, the bus protocol packet not only needs to be captured but also needs to be analyzed at the same time. Very few protocol analyzers support this feature. Having simultaneous analysis and decoding can speed up your debugging significantly.
Question 2: Does the Protocol Analyzer Firmware (FW) upgrade as the specification evolves?
The latest protocol specifications are always evolving and a few fixes and supports are regularly added to the specification. The protocol analyzer needs to not only support the current version of the specification but also support the future upgrades that happen in the protocol specification.
Question 3: How does one view the protocol analysis packet?
State machine view is the best view one can get for the protocol analysis. Engineers are used to looking at state machine views to decode and understand protocol analysis. Some of the complex protocols having a clean state machine view will help you quickly decode the packet or protocol issues.
Question 4: Does the Protocol Analyzer support API Integration?
The engineering development environment is very complex. Integration of the new protocol analyzer tool into the environment is key to running long regressions and decoding the hard problems. API support by the protocol analyzer plays a key role in the integration into the development environment.
Question 5: What is the form factor?
Some of the protocol analyzers need to have a small form factor so that they can be easily deployed on the field. Having a small form factor also helps the engineer have more space in the workbench area so that space can be deployed for further complex testing by adding additional equipment.
Choosing the right Protocol Analyzer is a daunting task and a protocol analyzer is an expensive set of capital equipment added to your organization. It’s always recommended to ask for a demo of the unit and work with the application engineer before finalizing the protocol analyzer