Wednesday, October 12, 2016

How to Test 64 USB Devices Over a Network

LOTS of USB devices for testing?

When testing your USB devices (your ‘target devices’) the aim is to make sure your hardware and code are ‘bug-free’. The best way to do this is to throw more target devices at the test system allowing you to either test multiple devices in parallel running either the same or different tests. More really is more in this case.

Software testing is a complicated subject and is beyond the scope of this post. But Cambrionix are experts in designing the hardware required to enable your testing. They are also good at integrating our hardware into your existing test setups via our Cambrionix API. If you would like to know just how complicated this can be take a look at the different software testing levels!

So, just how many devices are you testing?

This number can vary wildly from company to company and from product to product but lets throw some numbers out there for the sake of being able to complete this blog post! Lets start with a modest 64 (or more) devices, we covered 16 devices in Part 1 of this post so 64 is a reasonable starting point.
So, with 64 devices you have a few choices to make:
  1. Are the devices power hungry ie. Do they ship with a 10W+ charger?
  2. Is it important to control the ports which the target devices are connected to?
  3. Do you need to monitor the current consumption of the target devices during testing?
  4. How important is data transfer speed to you?
  5. Do you need to share your devices over a network?
The choices above will determine which product you should use to connect your target devices to your host but lets look at 3 options (option 2 and 3 to follow!):

Testing Option #1

500mA target devices (not power hungry), port control and monitoring not required and data transfer speed isn’t the highest priority. Devices do not need to be shared over a network.
This is the typical scenario for small device manufacturers – little IOT sensors, battery powered ‘dongles’, small phones or audio players etc. The devices simply need to be powered-up and connected en-masse to a host computer.


Our SyncPad54 is the best solution for this scenario. It operates as a standard USB hub but with the addition of a full 500mA @5V (2.5W) available to each of its 54 ports simultaneously. The SyncPad54, as with a standard USB hub, shares data bandwidth between the devices connected to it.

The Cambrionix SyncPad54 (uncased model shown, cased solution also available) – Ideal for testing low powered devices.
What this means in real terms is that if you are transferring large amounts of data you will see a reduction in performance vs some of our other products. If you are only transferring small amounts of data then the SyncPad54 is a great choice.
It is compact, highly reliable and independently safety tested by the Underwriters Laboratory (UL).
In order to get the 64 ports you would need to either utilize some existing ports on your host computer or add one of our PowerPad products to your host for an extra 15 ports. Alternatively, you could get another SyncPad54 hooked-up to your host and rock a full 108 ports!

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