NEWBURY, ENGLAND -- Founded more than 30 years ago, Quantel is well-known for creating powerful tools for the digital age within our headquarters and R&D facility. Part of our success is due to the rigorous testing procedures undertaken before customer placement to ensure reliability in each product, many of which are responsible for live on-air transmission. In order to further bolster the test department’s capacity, we approached Phabrix regarding a project to automate testing procedures using the handheld Phabrix SxE, and we now have six deployed.
In early 2011, we began using our first Phabrix SxE in the manufacturing department, primarily for testing sQ servers as part of our manufacturing and testing regime. We quickly purchased a further five instruments as the SxE’s potential for improved testing automation became clear, helping us meet increased order volumes for sQ server systems. The original SxE was also regularly ‘borrowed’ by the R&D department as the capabilities of the instrument became known within Quantel, and R&D has now purchased its own unit.
The Phabrix SxE is a handheld instrument that combines a generator, analyzer, and monitoring solution with a comprehensive toolset that includes high-end eye and jitter analysis. Having the ability to generate a range of test patterns at different standards and then analyse the results when fed back into the instrument made this a useful single tool solution. The comprehensive toolset is used extensively for both generation of signals and analysis.
The provision of eye and jitter analysis on the Phabrix SxE was an important factor in Quantel choosing the Phabrix solution. Using the physical layer toolset, the integrity of the signal path can be regularly checked and recorded using the events log, helping to maintain Quantel’s well-respected quality of manufacture.
What made the Phabrix SxE stand out from other test and measurement equipment was the ability to include 3G-SDI testing, along with HD-SDI and SD-SDI on our server test modules. The additional functionality of the Phabrix SxE, to use its in-built scripting features, allowed us to build complex routines to perform a series of sophisticated test and measurement functions, freeing up valuable time and increasing output. The SDI data stream analysis toolset on the SxE also proved extremely useful in providing our test engineers with a detailed view of the data words contained within the SDI stream. Complex faults are quickly and easily identified when testing Quantel’s integrated server-based HD/SD/Stereo3D production systems.
A particular feature that drew Quantel towards the SxE was its ease of use. Toolsets are color-identified throughout the instrument, so to the left of the screen the vertical coloured strip presents the tool selected at a glance, i.e., Green for Generation, Purple for Analysis. The eight control buttons underneath the screen correspond to the menu boxes above, which again are colour identified for easy navigation throughout the instrument.
Quantel has demonstrated that the Phabrix SxE can be customised with scripts to make the instrument perform automated test procedures with open access to all the tools available within the unit. The SxE continues to develop with the recent addition of a Dolby E generator and Dolby analyser along with 2K formats. Mark Whyle is Quantel’s Test Manager, and Senior Test Engineers Matt Pearton and Paula Jerome also assisted in this article.
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