Why LXI?


Why go LXI? Why not? It costs money; is it worth it?

While most major Test and Measurement companies are members of the LXI Consortium; there are a couple notables missing: Tektronix and Anritsu. Interesting in that these two work to offer solutions which solve timing and synchronization issues – especailly Tek with their latest triggering feature set in the RSA6100A Real Time Spectrum Analyzer.

Yet, you don’t hear much about users rallying for LXI so I’ve got to wonder what it really brings to the table. The consortium will only be five years old in September so maybe it’s too early to expect much.

I still often end up pointing users I consult with to good ol’ GPIB, actually GPIB+ with higher speed, especially in applications that are simply controlling instruments and returning simple data (and not much of it). The overhead required in LAN can actually slow down testing and instrument control in some cases.

What are your thoughts on LXI; is it a “must-have” on your list of test equipment specs?

2 Responses to Why LXI?

  1. Testing, Testing says:

    Your comments on lack of user enthusiasm may be true in some commercial applications, but the military have been watching the progress of LXI very closely and specifying LXI where it makes sense. Given the fact that there are 1,100 plus products available in less than 5 years indicates that there is considerable market demand.

    As to your speed related comment, there will always be some applications that are best served by one or another platform. Otherwise, why are there so many choices?

    Finally, as to whether LXI is a “must have”, again it depends on the application. But as the number of products grow, and considering the ease of connecting LXI units to a PC compared to GPIB, the market is shifting towards LXI and will continue to do so.

  2. Ian says:

    Speaking as an implementer, there are a lot of things about LXI that make good sense: standard network protocols, easy configuration over HTTP, IVI-C drivers, etc. It’s also a relatively readable standard.

    LXI has a few weird points, though, like requiring a LAN activity LED specifically on the front panel (what’s wrong with the LEDs attached to the Ethernet jack on the back?). I’d be happier if the spec didn’t insert itself into the industrial design process. Their fascination with IVI-COM is weird, too; thankfully, that’s just a recommendation.

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