Author: Chris Cicchetti, Marketing Director, SAS/SATA Analyzers and Testers,
The new SAS-2 and SATA Gen-3 system protocols bring 6Gb/s link speeds to a wide range of applications, including storage units, disk drives, optical and tape drives, and protocol host bus adapters (HBAs). Carrying such high-signal signals several meters over copper cables, however, tests the limits of signaling technology, making signal integrity a significantly more important design concern for equipment designers and network engineers than it was at 3Gb/s. For example, a test setup that was already at the performance edge for 3Gb/s will cause undesirable and misleading failures at 6Gb/s as tolerances drop to the point where test equipment can adversely affect signal integrity. Apart from strictly adhering to each standard's specifications, the key behind successful SAS/SATA product development and network debugging will be an understanding of the tighter tolerances at 6Gb/s and the steps that developers can take to minimize the impact of test equipment on a device-under-test (DUT).