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From Bob Helsel, Editor of the PXI Newsletter:

Welcome to the April 2019 edition of the PXI Newsletter.  Our intent is to educate and inform you about how the PXI standard is being used in modular test systems for a wide variety of industries.

In the New PXI Products section, we are showcasing PXI products recently released by members of the PXI Systems Alliance.

Our thanks go to the PXI Systems Alliance, the sponsor of this month's issue.

Visit for more information.


PXI Express FAQ

By National Instruments

The PXI industry standard has quickly gained adoption and grown in prevalence in automated test systems since its release in 1998. PXI is being selected as the platform of choice for thousands of applications from areas such as military, aerospace, consumer electronics, communications, as well as process control and industrial automation. One of the key elements driving the rapid adoption of PXI is its use of PCI in the communication backplane. 

As the commercial PC industry drastically improves the available bus bandwidth by evolving PCI into PCI Express, PXI has the ability to meet even more application needs by integrating PCI Express into the PXI standard. Ensuring the successful integration of PCI Express technology into the PXI and CompactPCI backplanes, engineers within the PCI Industrial Manufacturers Group (PICMG) which governs CompactPCI, and the PXI Systems Alliance (PXISA) which governs PXI, have worked to ensure that the PCI Express technology can be integrated into the backplane while still preserving compatibility with the large installed base of existing systems. With PXI Express, users benefit from significantly increased bandwidth, ensured backward compatibility, and additional timing and synchronization features; thus improving upon an already established platform. 

This document answers frequently asked questions about PXI Express. 

General Concept of PXI Express

What is PXI Express?

PXI Express technology is the latest addition to the PXI platform. The PXI Express specification integrates PCI Express signaling into the PXI standard. This increases backplane bandwidth from 132 MB/s to 6 GB/s, a 45 times improvement. It also enhances PXI timing and synchronization features by incorporating a 100 MHz differential reference clock and differential trigger lines. The PXI Express specification adds these features to PXI while maintaining backwards compatibility.

How does PXI Express compare to other buses in bandwidth and latency?

Bandwidth measures the rate at which data is sent across a bus, typically in megabytes per second; latency measures the delay in transmission of data across a bus. With PXI Express, you can achieve a maximum 6 GB/s controller-to-backplane bandwidth, the highest bandwidth in the test and measurement industry. Additionally, up to 2 GB/s of bandwidth can be dedicated to each peripheral slot, depending on the system specifics.


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Thanks to all our readers.
Bob Helsel, Editor

New PXI Products

The PXI platform continues its explosive growth with many new product introductions. New products introduced in the last three months include (listed in the order received):

Pickering’s New 256 Crosspoint 2-Pole PXI Switching Matrices
This new range of high-density, two-pole PXI switching matrices offer higher performance than competing products. Series 40-580 (32x8) and 40-583 (64x4) matrices are supported by both of Pickering’s relay test tools (BIRST and eBIRST), delivering sophisticated and thorough diagnostics for any relays that are approaching end-of-life or have been damaged by over-specification hot-switching events.

Marvin Test Solutions Expands User-Programmable PXIe FPGA Product Line
The GX3800e is a user configurable, FPGA-based, 3U PXI Express card which supports the 400 pin, VITA 57.1 FMC interface standard. The card employs the Altera Cyclone V GX FPGA, which supports xcvr data rates up to 3.125 Gb/s and features over 300,000 logic elements and 12.2 Kb of memory.  Users can design their own custom interface module or select from a wide range of commercial off-the-shelf FMC modules which can then be integrated with the GX3800e - creating customized instrumentation for analog or digital test applications.  

Coherent Solutions O2EPXIe – Modular Optical-to-Electrical Converter
The O2EPXIe is a high bandwidth, broadband OE converter designed for the PXI Platform. Available in a range of configurations; choose from 1 or 2 channels, AC or DC coupling and various conversion gain and operating wavelength ranges.

Sundance DSP PXIe800Z
The PXIe800Z is based on Xilinx Zynq UltraScale+ MPSoC FPGA family. Depending on the choice of Zynq UltraScale+ FPGA it can be used for High-Performance Computing (HPC), digital communication or image processing, including AR/VR applications. 

Keysight PXI Vector Signal Analyzers
For design validation and manufacturing applications that require fast, high quality measurements where quality control, product conformance and test optimization are essential. With a small footprint, speed, scalability repeatability, and the flexibility to configure a solution with a shared processor, frame/chassis, display, and interface, PXIe vector signal analyzers provide the building blocks for your single or multi-channel modular test solution.


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