What is a Protocol Analyzer ?
A Protocol Analyzer is a measurement tool or device used to capture and monitor the data over communication channel. It captures the data on the communication channel and coverts the data bits into meaningful protocol sequence. A protocol analyzer uses a combination of software and hardware to analyze and capture the data over the communication channel. It empowers the engineer to understand the protocol and further analyze the captured protocol sequence. Protocol analyzer is very powerful in debugging the device and bus failures in the embedded system.
Type of Protocol Analyzer:
Industry has two types of protocol analyzer. Hardware protocol analyzer and software protocol analyzer.
Hardware protocol analyzer: The hardware based protocol analyzer uses hardware and software to capture the packets. Hardware based protocol analyzer are used to debug hardware and complex SoC protocol interfaces. The hardware based protocol analyzer captures the packets of the interfaces for downstream analysis. Some of the common hardware based protocol analyzer are UFS protocol analyzer, eMMC protocol analyzer, PCIe protocol analyzer.
Software protocol analyzer: Software based protocol analyzer use only software to capture and analyze the protocol. These are commonly known as network analyzers. The software protocol analyzer is used for capture and analysis of LAN ,Wireless network etc.
How does a hardware protocol analyzer look like ?
Fig 1.0 – I3C Protocol Analyzer and Exerciser
Prodigy’s Protocol analysis software – Captured Packet Image
Advantage of using the Protocol analyzer:
Development Time: By using protocol analyzer the engineering team can cut down the development time significantly. The engineering team can quickly capture the protocol packets and do the analysis to the complex protocols. The debug time can be cut down from months to few weeks.
Errors in manual Analysis: Most the teams use manual capture and analysis of the protocol. Manual reporting and analysis may work for small amount of data but as the complexity of capture increases the error in reporting and analysis also increases. Using protocol analyzer in built software the error in capture can be reduced to zero
Automation of work Environment: Many protocol analyzer support API integration enabling the engineers to create fully automated test cases. The automated test cases can be run as overnight regressions. This will enable engineers create complex test cases and validate the system thoroughly.
Protocol compliance: The protocol analyzer can quickly report any violation of protocol standards and ensure proper compliance to the protocol standard.
Prodigy Technovations works on hardware protocol analyzer. Prodigy Technovations has developed protocol analyzer from simple protocols like I2C to very complex protocol like PCIe. If you are looking to debug design having complex interfaces or Protocol, make sure to check the below link.