As the volume of data transferred via internet and the number of data centers across the world increase, proper testing of Ethernet cable assemblies becomes crucial. As direct attach copper (DAC) cables are the most economical solution for short data connections, they are widely used in high-speed networks and data centers. Installations include a huge number of these DAC cables, and their performance is vital for the whole system. IEEE  802.3bj and IEEE  802.3by cover data rates of 25 Gbps per lane, IEEE  802.3cd goes up to 50 Gbps per lane. The latest IEEE  802.3ck standard further doubles the data rate to 100 Gbps per lane, enabling cable assembly configurations of 100GBASE-CR1, 200GBASE-CR2, 400GBASE-CR4 and 800GBASE-CR8.
Rohde & Schwarz efficiently tackles these challenges with two new options for the R&S ZNrun vector network analyzer automation suite. The R&S  ZNrun-K410 is designed  for automatic testing of cable assemblies according to IEEE  802.3bj, by and cd, and brings considerable time-savings to users. The solution includes the automation of the measurement, postprocessing of Channel Operating Margin (COM) and Effective Return Loss (ERL) results, Pass/Fail and margin analysis and the generation of the test report, thus drastically reducing the overall test time. The R&S ZNrun-K411 is already prepared for testing cable assemblies according to the IEEE  802.3ck Ethernet standard, which will reach data rates of 800 Gbps for 800GBASE-CR8 configurations.

The test setups are based on the corresponding vector network analyzer such as the R&S ZNA or R&S ZNB. To reduce the handling effort for the user, the R&S OSP open switch and control platform is supported to provide an economic multiport solution. The whole setup is controlled by the R&S ZNrun vector network analyzer automation suite with the compliance options R&S  ZNrun-K410 or -K411, automating the complete test sequence, data collection, postprocessing and test report generation.
Rohde & Schwarz demonstrates the new solution at the DesignCon 2022 from April 5 to 7 at the Rohde & Schwarz booth 1049 at Santa Clara Convention Center. There, visitors can experience the verification of an IEEE 802.3ck high-speed cable assembly based on Ethernet compliance automation using the new R&S ZNrun option. The option R&S ZNrun-K410 will be available by mid-2022, followed by the R&S ZNrun-K411 later in 2022.