Patching And Problems
Once silicon and NIC reference designs are finalized, Intel will send the products to OEMs, who in turn create their systems and return early samples back to Intel for analysis. Intel then compares those OEM products against proven reference board results. If the OEM data looks worse, an Intel technical marketing engineer will go over the OEM’s schematics and work to help the manufacturers improve their quality. Sometimes, engineers are even called on to do failure analysis in the field.
“I’m doing a laptop project now where there may be a cold solder joint problem,” said Intel’s Matt Wonson. “Like you desolder and resolder the network silicon, and all the problems go away.”
Matt works in new products testing, customer designs, and troubleshooting. The testing and troubleshooting work done here looks somewhat familiar to that done in the X-Lab. For example, the station shown above is for doing bit error rate testing. Techs can use relays to patch cables for lengths up to 160 meters. “As the test runs,” said Matt, “it finishes one cable length, then uses the relays to create a sort of virtual cable.”