LXI Advantages in Switching Systems

    Pickering Interfaces offers switching systems in various platforms, the principal being PXI.

    However, there are applications where PXI does not make good sense. Being a modular standard, PXI has a fixed module format, and the chassis provides cooling and power. That leads to some compromises when used for switching systems. The LXI standard does not define mechanical footprint, power supply capacity or cooling - these are designed to match the instrument (or switching system) requirements and provide some key advantages for some applications. The LXI standard only defines how 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 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 the front panel area for many types of switching system

    For more diverse switching systems, PXI can create more effective designs, which tend to be the most users. We do not consider there to be significant differences in speed between LXI and PXI, and the LXI devices are provided with 1000Mb/s interfaces whose speed and latency are 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 on LXI can be found here.

    A video explanation of these issues can be found on our website here

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