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Supporting a wide variety of communication protocols using dynamic partial reconfiguration

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Supporting a variety of communication protocols for test support equipment has typically required extensive hardware and Input/Output (I/O) interfaces targeting each protocol specifically. Recent advanced designs in the past ten years have created more dynamic approaches by using Field Programmable Gate Arrays (FPGA) and embedded hardware to implement or simulate previous hardware I/O designs. The dynamic possibilities of FPGA have been expanded with the introduction of Dynamic Partial Reconfiguration (DPR), which allows part of the FPGA to be reconfigured while the rest of the logic remains static. To determine whether this new technology was a viable option for test equipment, a DPR system was designed and implemented to interface with various communication protocols used in test equipment. The end result outlined some important advantages and disadvantages to consider when developing such a system.

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IEEE Instrumentation & Measurement Magazine  (Volume:16 ,  Issue: 4 )