PHABRIX hand held SxE solution for Quantel


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PHABRIX recently visited UK based Quantel, developers of innovative, world-leading content creation systems for broadcast, post and DI to find out how the company are deploying their six PHABRIX hand held SxE in its test department.
Quantel is well known in the broadcast industry for creating powerful and efficient tools for the digital age within their headquarters and Research & Development facility based in Newbury, UK. Part of the success of Quantel is due to the rigorous testing procedures undertaken before customer placement to ensure reliability in each product, many of which are responsible for live on air transmission. In order to further bolster the test department’s capacity for product test and measurement, Quantel approached PHABRIX with a project to automate its testing procedures using the hand held PHABRIX SxE.
In early 2011, Quantel began using its first PHABRIX SxE in its manufacturing department primarily for testing sQ servers as part of its manufacturing and testing regime. Quantel quickly purchased a further five instruments as the SxE’s potential for improved testing automation became clear, helping Quantel to meet increased order volumes for its sQ server systems. The original SxE was also regularly ‘borrowed’ by the R&D department as the capabilities of the instrument became known within Quantel, and R&D has now purchased its own unit.
Mark Whyle, Quantel’s test manager, described why he chose the PHABRIX solution;
‘What made the PHABRIX SxE stand out from other test and measurement equipment was the ability to include 3G-SDI testing along with HD-SDI and SD-SDI on our server test modules. The additional functionality of the PHABRIX SxE, to use its in built scripting features allowed us to build complex routines to perform a series of sophisticated test and measurement functions, freeing up valuable time and increasing output’.
The PHABRIX SxE is a hand held instrument that combines a generator, analyser and monitoring solution with a comprehensive toolset which includes high-end eye and jitter analysis. Having the ability to generate a range of test patterns at different standards and then analyse the results when fed back into the instrument was a useful single tool solution for Quantel. The comprehensive toolset is extensively used for both generation of signals and analysis.
The provision of eye and jitter analysis on the PHABRIX SxE was an important factor in Quantel choosing the PHABRIX solution. Using the physical layer toolset, the integrity of the signal path can be regularly checked and recorded using the events log, helping to maintain Quantel’s industry respected quality of manufacture. The cost effectiveness of eye and jitter analysis on the PHABRIX SxE has been a reason why it has become so popular with broadcast manufacturers worldwide.
The SDI data stream analysis toolset on the SxE also proved extremely useful in providing the Quantel test engineers with a detailed view of the data words contained within the SDI stream. Complex faults are quickly and easily identified when testing Quantel’s sophisticated integrated server-based HD/SD/Stereo3D production systems.
A particular feature that drew Quantel towards the SxE was its ease of use. Toolsets are colour identified throughout the instrument so to the left of the screen the vertical coloured strip presents the tool selected at a glance, i.e. Green for generation, Purple for Analysis. The eight control buttons underneath the screen correspond to the menu boxes above which again are colour identified for easy navigation throughout the instrument.
Senior test engineer Paula Jerome of Quantel commented:
‘The hand held PHABRIX SxE has allowed me to use just one instrument to carry out many testing requirements, avoiding the need for multiple pieces of equipment.’
Since its release in 2009the PHABRIX SxE remains the most comprehensive hand held instrument available in the world today. Quantel has demonstrated that the PHABRIX SxE can be customised with scripts to make the instrument perform automated test procedures with open access to all the tools available within the unit. The PHABRIX SxE continues to develop with the recent addition of a Dolby E generator and Dolby analyser.
For more information on the PHABRIX product range please visit www.phabrix.com or contact info@phabrix.com
For more information about Quantel please visit www.quantel.com or contact marketing@quantel.com
Our thanks to test manager Mark Whyle, along with head of publicity Roger Thornton, and senior test engineers Matt Pearton and Paula Jerome for assisting in this article.

Tags: iss067 | quantel | phabrix | test and measurement | sq server | test engineer | phabrix sxe | N/A
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