Powerful USB protocol analyzer runs on PCs - Embedded.com

Powerful USB protocol analyzer runs on PCs


Pittsford, NY. Saelig Co. Inc. (USA distributor for Ellisys – Switzerland) announces a new release of the leading-edge USB Analysis software, Visual USB for the popular and economical USB ExplorerPRO USB bus analyzer. This new software version adds another decoder to the range of USB Class Decoders provided, called: Test & Measurement, which is widely used in USB test equipment. The USB ExplorerPRO Professional Edition now decodes descriptors, requests, and events sent by 12 different “device” classes and “hub” class, giving unequalled versatility and ease of use for this valuable USB tool. Class decoders available for USB ExplorerPRO now includes: Audio, Video, HID, Hub, WUSB, Mass Storage, Communication, Wireless Mobile, Still Image, Printer, Bluetooth HCI, Smart Card, Test and Measurement.

Also added with this software release is the capability to combine SPLIT transactions in order to extract relevant, vital information from them. You can analyze high speed traffic upstream from a USB 2.0 hub and combine SPLIT transactions to see what will be transmitted downstream to the device. This can be done during real-time recording or afterwards with pre-recorded files. In addition, the ability to export traffic to a CSV (comma separated variables) file is now available, using the optional Export functionality. CSV files are convenient for importing into spreadsheets.

USB Explorer 200PRO Analyzer has become an industry-standard tool for companies involved in USB development, helping them to meet rapid time- to-market requirements as well as customers' demands for seamless interoperability between manufacturers’ products.

USB Explorer 200PRO is available now for $5999.00 from Ellisys's USA agents: Saelig Co. NY (585-385-1750; 585-385-1768; info@saelig.com; www.saelig.com). The new features for USB development are also available as a free upgrade for existing USB Explorer 200PRO owners.

Although the press release (on the left) from Saelig primarily discusses the latest USB ExplorerPRO Professional Edition bits, it's worth taking a closer look at the USB ExplorerPRO USB (Universal Serial Bus) bus analyzer box, too. It's a small (5.9 x 4.7 x 2.6-in.) and light (less than 2-lb.) package that works with a PC as an analyzer, communicating across USB 2.0's 480-Mbit/s connection. It's also powered from the USB port it's connected to.

As you might expect (although it's not mentioned in the press statement) this is a Windows platform product. Also, because the USB Explorer 200 records data to be analyzed in realtime, two host controllers are necessary.

The first one is used to connect the peripheral to be tested and the other PC is used to record the data. One is for analysis and the other for testing. You can also use one computer with two host controllers, but Saelig recommends two computers, one of them fitted with a USB 2.0 high-speed connection.

PC Requirements

To run the software, one PC must run at least a Pentium III clocking at 600-MHz or higher, and have at least 128 megs of DRAM. The platform must include an 800 x 600-pixel display (256 colors), and run Windows 2000 Service Pack4 or Windows XP Service Pack1 , as well as Internet Explorer 5.0 or above. Of course, that PC must also have a USB 2.0 EHCI (enhanced host controller interface) controller.

The analyzer uses your host computer's DRAM to store any recorded traffic using the Visual USB software. As such, the maximum amount of data is limited, but a RecordToDisk tool can be used to record vast amounts of USB data into consecutive files that can later be opened using Visual USB.

Capture Elusive Intermittents

That can be a boon if you're looking for intermittent problems, especially those that don't occur very often. You can actually use the RecordToDisk tool to record traffic over hours or even weeks. Later, you can return to the correct position in the files using a time stamp or other external event.

As you can surmise, the USB Explorer 200 protocol analyzer is very powerful. It will readily let you display USB bus states, packets sent, and decode descriptors, where it can detect errors in devices and host controllers, as well as in embedded software and drivers.

Once installed, the FIFO -equipped USB ExplorerPRO USB analyzer can accommodate testing of all USB 2.0 speeds, with automatic detection of the link-under-test speed. In operation, the system will non-intrusively measure all USB bus states and low-level protocols.

Realtime Analysis

You can download analyzed data in realtime, too. When capturing USB data packets, a realtime statistical display lets you check bus status even before you look at the packets that have been read. These are displayed in a chronological list together with peripheral addressing and endpoint numbering. A second window provides details on the selected item.

A coaxial BNC connector is also provided to feed in triggers. There's also a trigger output function. The USB Explorer 200's adjustable hardware trigger permits triggering of specific actions when external events are occurring, or when repetitive events are taking place, or when specific event sequences are happening. A text mode summary gives a glimpse of events and defined actions.

In addition to that, front-panel indicators are provided to show power and bus activity. An indicator goes green when packets are detected, changing to red when they're recorded. A trigger indicator goes green when a trigger is detected on the input, and it can change to red when a trigger is detected in the output.

Multi-Level Decode

In use, the system's PC display shows the various USB transactions and transfers layers, with high-level decoding of standard requests and descriptors. There's also a set of display filters (more on them in a moment), and a time stamp with 16.67-ns precision.

Low-level error detection reveals bit-stuffing, as well as CRC5/CRC16 (cyclical redundancy check) errors. The high-level states show detection and measurement of Reset, Suspend, Keep Alive , and High Speed Handshake states.

To make it easier to identify packets, software provides filtering and packet color-coding.

This gives you a choice of several levels of detail, with information taken from the traffic containing references to the USB specs.

Once acquired, you can also export your findings into various PC-compatible formats, such as XML or text files, or raw data.

Click here to review the system’s specs.

For more details, contact Alan Lowne at Saelig Company Inc., 1160-D2 Pittsford-Victor Road, Pittsford, New York 14534. Phone: 585-385-1750. Fax: 585-385-1768. E-mail: info@saelig.com.

Saelig Company , 585-385-1750, www.saelig.com

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