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Part Of The Bargain

Intel’s X-Lab: Tomorrow’s Network Happens Here
Part Of The Bargain

“This station over here is doing some transmit testing,” continued Matt. “It’s a little more complex, with more stuff on it. We’ll have the oscilloscope hooked up to that, measuring. We’ve got different cable models and stuff on the board, so as each test runs, the board switches to the appropriate load for that test. The way that the racks work is we’ve got a controller PC with a GPIB controller card in it that talks to all of the different instruments. So when it’s getting a run—say you have to have a certain capture length—the controller PC tells the scope to capture this long of a record, maybe along with some screen grabs. It’s got pass/fail criteria, what’s marginal, what was actually measured. Right now, I’ve got these Powerville 4-port, GigE, no bridge chip network cards that do Energy Efficient Ethernet. That’s one of the big things in power right now.”

Intel doesn’t charge for this support. Anybody who buys Intel silicon can get these test results for their product. The University of New Hampshire has its Interoperability Test program, and it’s the most renowned lab in this space, but, according to my tour hosts, the consortium fees can add up fast for a low-margin manufacturer.

“So we’ll provide all that support plus review your design and suggest what components to use on magnetics or resistors or whatever,” said Matt. “We may not always be the lowest-cost solution, but we bring a lot to the table.”

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