A Trip To New Hampshire

2021-04-12  |  6 min read 

On a morning in early August - Carrie Browen, Solutions Manager and Marty Gubow, Product Planner in the Automotive Group at Keysight Technologies made a trip to the University of New Hampshire’s Interoperability Lab (UNH-IOL). Driving past the bucolic farms and quaint towns to the campus built like a horseshoe surrounding nearby Durham, it is easy to see why the University of New Hampshire earned the title of Most Beautiful College in America in the Winter. The campus is located near the beautiful White Mountains and Lakes Region of New Hampshire and is close to 2600 acres of woodlands and farmland.

The IOL began in 1988 in a small room at UNH and was founded by Bill Lenharth, former director of the university’s Research Computing Center (RCC), and Barry Reinhold, President of Lamprey Networks. At the time, the RCC was testing Fiber Distributed Data Interface with the intention of deploying it in its network but was finding that equipment from a couple of vendors was not interoperable. It turned out that the vendors were interpreting the draft and final versions of the specification differently – and that outcome led serendipitously to the birth of the UNH-IOL. 

Criticality of Test plans and Test equipment

Today with more than 20 consortia, UNH-IOL has hundreds of companies involved in testing at the lab and is recognized worldwide for automotive Ethernet compliance and interoperability testing. To ensure that customer products meet specifications with accuracy requires trust in both Test plans and Test equipment – and this was the focus of Browen and Gubow’s trip, specifically to achieve qualification of the OPEN Alliance’s Ethernet-based tests through Keysight’s Compliance applications and equipment.

Since then, the partnership between UNH-IOL and Keysight has continued to thrive, and multiple equipment from Keysight has been verified by UNH-IOL, such as the AE6900T automotive Ethernet transmit compliance solution,  as well as the AE6941A, AE6943A test fixtures.  These products and solutions comprise the hardware, software, cables and accessories needed to enable compliance testing, and meet the requirements of the OPEN Alliance automotive Ethernet standards and comply with their approach and practice. These offerings are enhanced by receiver testing software and a channel compliance application that offers 6 different data rates, including Multi-gigabit IEEE 802.3ch, in one application.

The automotive Ethernet software packages let you automatically execute tests and display the results in a flexible report format. In addition to the measurement data, the report provides a margin analysis that shows how closely the device passed or failed each test.

The following automotive ethernet compliance solutions are available:

  • Transceiver testing for Open Alliance TC1, TC8, TC12, TC15 and IEEE 802.3cg, 802.3bw, 802.3bp, and 802.3ch 
  • Receiver testing for OPEN Alliance TC1, TC12, IEEE 802.3bw and 802.3bp
  • Protocol trigger & decode for IEEE 802.3bw and 802.3bp
  • Channel testing for Open Alliance TC1, TC9, TC15, IEEE 802.3bw, 802.3bp and 802.3ch 

Software licenses are available as node-locked, transportable, USB, or floating; and licenses are available for purchase with 6, 12, 24, or 36 month support.

The testing at UNH-IOL was done on Keysight's S-series oscilloscope at the time, but the offering now includes the new MXR and flagship UXR series oscilloscopes.


Why the focus on Automotive Ethernet?

Why is there such a focus on the In-Vehicle Network (IVN) and automotive Ethernet today? Alexander Tan, General Manager of Automotive Ethernet Solutions at NXP Semiconductors might be a good person to ask.

According to Alexander, automakers are currently in the process of designing a car that will be out in 3 years and then on the roads for close to 10 years, and it is hard to know what the needs of the car will be then. It is critical to choose technologies that are robust and future-proof. Alexander gives an interesting example of an OEM that incorporated forward-facing camera technology to read street and speed signs. After the car was released, the OEM realized that the camera was ideal to also discern the state of the road ahead, and accordingly the ride of the car could be dynamically adjusted. The OEM was able to make big improvements to the car because the IVN was able to support the requirements, and this is the sort of future-proofing that is driving the adoption of automotive Ethernet today.

Final thoughts  

Keysight's partnership and continued collaboration with the UNH-IOL has resulted not just in certified equipment that industry can leverage, but multiple joint courses and webinars. For engineers in industry, these offerings help enhance their capabilities in today's key areas of In-Vehicle Networks and automotive Ethernet and be better prepared for design and test.


For further information on in-vehicle networks, please reach out or go to:®Tag=&V2=false&sourcepage=register