Allion Labs

PCI Express (PCIe) is the most widely used tech interface in PC or server products. In PCIe 5.0 and 6.0, transmission speeds are as high as 32 GT/s to 64GT/s. In the server ecosystem, PCIe takes advantage of its high-speed features by not only utilizing the original CEM slot but also other slots such as OCP NIC 3.0 and EDSFF E1/E3 for connecting high-speed products such as computing accelerator cards, network cards, and storage devices. The PCIe electrical signal has always been very important and cannot be ignored during the verification process of server electrical signal quality inspection.

As the PCIe specification evolved to 3.0, 11 preset modes have been defined to provide the most suitable signal when establishing a connection between the system and the device to ensure stability. In the process of verification, the Tx signal eye pattern measured in a single lane rose to as high as 36 (PCIe 1.0-5.0). Each x16 slot needs to measure 576 eye patterns. Taking a server that allows 8 accelerator cards to be plugged in as an example, 8 of its x16 slots need to measure 4,068 Tx eye patterns in total. In other words, this will be a big burden for whoever is in charge of measurement.

Allion has developed an automated measurement solution to accelerate the measurement speed of PCIe testing, shortening the test cycle and increasing the production capacity and turnover rate of the measurement equipment. This solution can shorten the time required for manual testing by five times. The original measurement time that required one month to complete can be shortened to less than one week, which greatly shortens the overall delivery time. Automated measurements can also reduce the probability of human error, improving overall quality and consistency. The measurement equipment can also increase the production capacity by five times, reducing manpower and equipment costs.

Allion’s PCIe automated measurement solution is mainly composed of a set of 8-port switches paired with our self-developed control software. The bandwidth of the 8-port is 40GHz, which meets the requirements of PCIe 5.0 and 6.0. The automated software can automatically test 8 lanes at a time. When paired with our self-designed PCIe fixture that automatically triggers the system under test to generate the signal required for measurement, it controls the high-frequency oscilloscope to intercept signals and starts analysis for calculation and output.

Allion has considered this solution when designing the PCIe text fixture. In addition to using the same modules for the connector, the designs of the wiring are also consistent. This makes it simple for users to directly replace text fixtures without recalibration or jumpers when measuring different form factors (such as CEM to OCP NIC 3.0). We’ve also designed a set of racks for the 8-port switches for support. This helps with the switch move across the X, Y, and Z axes, solving the problem of jamming caused by inserting test fixtures.

Allion’s PCIe automated measurement solution is very suitable for companies that require measuring a large amount of PCIe electrical signals. Our quality consistency and efficiency can effectively reduce your investments in manpower and equipment. If you have further needs or inquiries, please contact us at