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The High-Speed Advantages of the Promira Serial Platform Connectivity
Brendan Murphy

The Promira Serial Platform was developed by Total Phase to meet the needs of customers in the field. They needed something fast, much faster than anything Total Phase had to offer. With projects starting to require higher frequencies and a need developing for multi I/O support with the rapid adoption of dual and quad SPI applications, the Promira platform was created to meet the rising requirements of the industry at large. The tool was created as an all-in-one platform that would expand in capability as applications evolved.

Promira Serial Platform

The Promira Serial Platform is capable of interfacing with I2C, SPI, eSPI, and A2B protocols. The platform can actively emulate a master or slave in I2C and SPI protocols and act as an analyzer for the eSPI and A2B bus. The Promira platform is also able to change voltage levels with its built-in level shifter feature. Additionally, the back-end connectivity to the host computer was upgraded to High-speed USB and Ethernet.

High-speed USB and Ethernet Connectivity Options

During the initial research and design phase of the Promira platform, customers reported a desire for increased throughput over the USB connection compared to existing tools.  They wanted the ability to program larger sets of data at faster speeds. Additionally, the ability to control the device remotely, over large distances, or inside of a complex set up and test chamber was mentioned as an important feature. The previous generation tool, the Aardvark I2C/SPI Host Adapter, only offered a Full-speed USB connection. As technology progressed and  applications became more demanding, the need to reduce USB latency started to become more common.

The High-Speed USB Port on the Promira Serial Platform

The High-speed USB port allows users to interface with the Promira Serial Platform over a direct USB connection at up to 480 Mbps. This connection is much faster when compared to the Aardvark adapter connection speed of 12 Mbps.  Not only was the speed of the connection upgraded, but a pipelined architecture was implemented.  This new architecture allows for the queuing of commands for gapless shifting and a better data streaming experience.

The greater bandwidth and pipelined architecture allow for faster interaction and lower latency between actions taken on the host computer and the Promira platform. The roundtrip latency over the USB connection is reduced to approximately 250us compared to 2ms with the Aardvark adapter. This is an 8x reduction in USB delay allowing developers better access to the bus.


Promira Serial Platform I/O ports

The Ethernet Port on the Promira Serial Platform

The Promira Serial Platform also comes equipped with an Ethernet connectivity option. The Ethernet port provides two different benefits to the tool.

First, setting up an Ethernet connection allows for instantaneous interaction of the tool increasing its bandwidth from the 480 Mbps of the High-speed USB to 1 Gigabit. This added speed almost completely eliminates any time needed to queue scripts via the API to the Promira Platform and connected devices. The Ethernet connection also reduces latency beyond the 250us delay seen with the High-Speed USB connection.

Second, the Ethernet port allows users to connect the Promira platform to their LAN network for remote access to the tool. Simply connect the tool to your router and interface with the tool via a wired ethernet connection or over WiFi. This option is also useful when the host PC has a limited number of ports available. The Ethernet connectivity allows users to use the Promira platform wirelessly for a simpler and cleaner setup.  Users can now access the tool and test setup remotely by connecting to the network and seamlessly interact with the Promira platform from around the world.  Alternatively, if the test set up is complex or located in a chamber, the Promira platform can be included in the set up without needing to include a laptop or have easy access for control.

Inter-byte Delay Improvements

Another benefit the Promira Serial Platform connectivity compared to the previous generation of host adapters is its significant reduction in interbyte delays. The Aardvark I2C/SPI Host Adapter is able to send up to 8 bits of data without any delays in transfer. However, if users need to transfer more than 8 bits of data, the data transfer rate starts to slow down as delays are introduced. The Promira platform, along with the free API , introduces the ability to send up to 32 bits of data with no interbyte delays. The 32 bits of data are sent in a continuous stream over 32 uninterrupted clock cycles. This gives the Promira Serial Platform an edge over other Total Phase tools when it comes to interbyte delays.

The Promira Serial Platform Is the Future of Total Phase Tools

The Promira Serial Platform is the future of Total Phase development tools and is rapidly growing in popularity among embedded systems engineers. With speed and expandability at the center of the platform, it is no surprise that the Promira platform is quickly becoming the most popular Total Phase development tool on the market.  To learn more about the Promira Serial Platform, please email sales@totalphase.com or call +1 (408) 850-6501.