MIPI offers debug specifications for mobile and IoT

January 20, 2016 //By Jean-Pierre Joosting
Gary Cooper, former chair of the MIPI Alliance Debug Working Group and systems engineer at Texas Instruments, discusses forthcoming specifications that should make debugging mobile phone designs easier, and could be picked up in other mobile equipment and IoT

Product designers often lament the challenges of debugging embedded components in mobile and mobile-influenced designs, despite debugging’s vital role. Often, debug features and functionality require costly use of pins, silicon area, or other valuable system resources. Debugging has also become increasingly complicated because today’s components are often embedded in system-on-chips (SOC) that can’t be evaluated with traditional tools. Further, engineers need to be able to debug a SOC or form factor device in the lab and again after it is connected on standard networks. This will become increasingly important as more designs become part of the Internet of Things (IoT).

This article introduces the MIPI Alliance Gigabit Debug portfolio of specifications that maximizes the utility and efficiency of debug tools. The specifications offer silicon chip vendors and OEMs standardized methods for debugging mobile terminals, mobile-influenced devices and IoT-connected products. The specifications can be used to debug systems throughout the development lifecycle and to tune devices for optimum performance.

SneakPeek, Gigabit Trace Framework and Gigabit Debug for USB

Key features of the new portfolio include three recently released network-independent, high-level protocol specifications: the SneakPeek Protocol Specification (SPP), the Gigabit Trace Framework Appendix to the Trace Wrapper Protocol (TWP) Specification and the Gigabit Debug for USB adaptor specification, which facilitates use of the protocols on USB connections.

SneakPeek is employed to communicate between a mobile target system (TS) and an external debug test system (DTS) used to test the TS hardware and software. The protocol is bi-directional, enabling engineers to interactively query the system state and control it.

The Gigabit Trace Framework streams non-intrusive trace data over high-speed connections to the host for debugging and data post-processing. It can be programmed in advance so data can be gathered without any real-time interaction. It uses and updates the widely adopted MIPI Alliance Trace Wrapper Protocol.

The Gigabit Debug for USB specification transports SneakPeek and Gigabit Trace over a USB connection. The approach minimizes debug’s impact on system functions and enables debug traffic to coexist with non-debug network traffic.

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