Pickering Interfaces offers switching systems in a variety of platforms, the principle platform being PXI.
However there are applications where PXI does not make good sense. Being a modular standard PXI has a fixed module format and cooling and power is provided by the chassis. That leads to some compromises when used for switching systems. The LXI standard does not define mechanical footprint, power supply capacity or cooling - these a re designed to match the instrument (or switching system) requirements and for some applications that provides some key advantages. The LXI standard only defines the way that the device uses the Ethernet based standards.
That leads to some potential advantages for some applications:
- Large switching systems can be created without the overhead of external connections required to expand the size of single modules
- Power and cooling requirements can be matched to the switching system requirement
- Control over long distances is much easier as the Ethernet standard has a 100m reach without repeaters and without fear of noise creating errors
- Physically large components can be included without forcing the modules to occupy large numbers of slots in a chassis
- The depth of the PCB assemblies in the switching system can be much deeper than PXI modules, resulting in lower use of front panel area for many types of switching system
For more diverse switching systems PXI can create more effective designs, and that tends to be the majority of users. We do not consider there to be major differences in speed between LXI and PXI, the LXI devices are provided with 1000Mb/s interfaces whose speed and latency is much faster than the relays used in most systems.
Users requiring diverse designs but wanting the easy control features of LXI (Ethernet) can use our LXI Modular Chassis - a PXI chassis with an embedded LXI controller that can control all our PXI switching module designs. More information can be found .here
More information on LXI can be found here
A video explanation of these issues can be found on our web site here