What is a Protocol Analyzer?
A Protocol Analyzer is a measurement tool or device used to capture and monitor data over a communication channel. It captures the data on the communication channel and converts the data bits into meaningful protocol sequences. A protocol analyzer uses a combination of software and hardware to analyze and capture the data over the communication channel. It empowers the engineer to understand the protocol and further analyze the captured protocol sequence. The protocol analyzer is very powerful in debugging the device and bus failures in the embedded system.
Type of Protocol Analyzer:
The industry has two types of protocol analyzers. Hardware protocol analyzer and software protocol analyzer.
Hardware protocol analyzer: The hardware-based protocol analyzer uses hardware and software to capture the packets. Hardware-based protocol analyzers are used to debug hardware and complex SoC protocol interfaces. The hardware-based protocol analyzer captures the packets of the interfaces for downstream analysis. Some of the common hardware-based protocol analyzers are UFS protocol analyzers, eMMC protocol analyzers, and PCIe protocol analyzers.
Software protocol analyzer: Software-based protocol analyzers use only software to capture and analyze the protocol. These are commonly known as network analyzers. The software protocol analyzer is used for capture and analysis of LAN, Wireless network, etc.
What does a hardware protocol analyzer look like?
Fig 1.0 – I3C Protocol Analyzer and Exerciser
Prodigy’s Protocol analysis software – Captured Packet Image
Advantages of using the Protocol analyzer:
Development Time: By using a protocol analyzer the engineering team can cut down the development time significantly. The engineering team can quickly capture the protocol packets and analyze the complex protocols. The debug time can be cut down from months to a few weeks.
Errors in manual Analysis: Most of the teams use manual capture and analysis of the protocol. Manual reporting and analysis may work for a small amount of data but as the complexity of capture increases the error in reporting and analysis also increases. Using a protocol analyzer inbuilt software the error in capture can be reduced to zero
Automation of Work Environment: Many protocol analyzer support API integration enabling the engineers to create fully automated test cases. The automated test cases can be run as overnight regressions. This will enable engineers to create complex test cases and validate the system thoroughly.
Protocol compliance: The protocol analyzer can quickly report any violation of protocol standards and ensure proper compliance with the protocol standard.
Prodigy Technovations works on a hardware protocol analyzer. Prodigy has developed state of the art Protocol analyzer to debug various Protocols. The protocol analyzers range from CAN, I2C, SPI, QSPI, I3C, PCIe, and UFS Plus many other protocols on the serial bus.