Agilent Technologies' ZIF Probe Head Extended to Protocol Layer Testing and Debugging for PCI Express®

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Agilent Technologies Inc. (NYSE: A) today introduced a new flying leads probe for its PCI Express (PCIe) 2.0 E2960B Series analysers, using the Zero Insertion Force (ZIF) probe head. The new ZIF flying leads probe uses the Agilent Infiniimax ZIF design, which allows designers to use the same probe points for physical layer measurements as well as protocol debugging using the protocol. This simplifies troubleshooting situations where it is unclear whether the fault lies in the physical layer or in protocol interactions. The new ZIF flying leads probe supports both 2.5 GT/s and 5.0 GT/s PCI Express data rates.

One of the challenges associated with debugging any PCIe 2.0 problem is determining if the root cause is due to the logic design or caused by signal-integrity issues at the physical layer. Determining root cause is especially difficult in embedded designs such as medical instruments as well as communication and military designs. With Agilent’s new ZIF flying leads probe, the same ZIF tip soldering point can be used with the oscilloscope for physical layer measurements or with the protocol to debug protocol problems.

“Agilent is the industry leader in PCI Express measurement, with tools that cover physical layer and protocol layer testing,” said Jun Chie, marketing manager for Agilent’s Logic and Protocol Test business. “With this unique coverage, we can provide our customers with leverage between these tools. This is a key time savings and cost savings for our customers, and very important especially in this economic climate.”

At PCIe 2.0 speeds, reliable probing becomes even more important. Without a reliable probing solution and the right form factor, reliable data capture becomes difficult if not impossible. Agilent’s ZIF flying leads probe is designed for reliable signals and ease of probing access and includes the following features:

- very low-capacitive loading that enables insight without influencing the monitored signals;
- easy-to-disconnect probe head (ZIF probe head) to protect probe connector and ensure many reuses;
- longer leads and probe length for easier access to probing points on the system under test; and
- long probe head (ZIF probe head) for access to different types of probing points.

Agilent understands that probing is key to trustworthy data, which is essential to debugging the PCIe 2.0 link. With the introduction of the ZIF flying leads probe, Agilent provides an industry-unique probe portfolio for PCIe 2.0, including the full-size mid-bus probe (straight, swizzle and split styles available), half-size mid-bus probe, slot interposer probe, flying leads probe and now the ZIF flying leads probe. Agilent’s extensive probing capabilities are combined with a powerful PCIe 2.0 , with a reliable data capture engine, easy-to-use graphical user interface and a versatile form factor, making Agilent’s E2960B Series the leader in the industry for PCI Express 2.0 test and debugging.

- High-resolution images are available at
- A backgrounder on PCI Express technology and Agilent’s test solutions is available at

Agilent’s Digital Test Standards Program

Agilent’s solutions for digital applications are driven and supported by Agilent experts that are involved in the various international standard committees. We call it the Agilent Digital Test Standards Program. Our experts are active in the Joint Electronic Devices Engineering Council (JEDEC), PCI Special Interest Group (PCI-SIG®), Video Electronics Standards Association (VESA), Serial ATA International Organization (SATA-IO), USB-Implementers Forum (USB-IF), Mobile Industry Processor Interface (MIPI) Alliance, Ethernet standards (IEEE 802.3), Optical Internetworking Forum(OIF), and many others. Our involvement in these standards groups and their related workshops, plugfests and seminars enables Agilent to bring the right solutions to the market when our customers need them.
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