Introduction to AXIe
If you’ve been reading about modular instruments, or speaking with one of several vendors that offer AXIe-compatible products, you may have come across the term “AXIe”. What is it? Where is it used? How is it different, or similar, to other instrument standards? How does it compare to PXI? If so, you’ve come to the right place. These are the questions I aim to answer in this introduction to AXIe.
This image shows a five-slot AXIe chassis housing Agilent (Now Keysight Technologies) and Guzik modules.
AXIe is a modular standard of pluggable test instrumentation similar to PXI or VXI, but with some important differences. AXIe is an abbreviation for “Advanced Telecommunications Computing Architecture Extensions for Instrumentation and Test”, a reference to the industrial bus standard it is based on. That is quite a mouthful. However, it is most useful to compare AXIe to PXI. AXIe is often referred to as the “big brother” of PXI, since it acts like a large PXI system in many aspects, but supports a larger board format suitable for high power applications. Like PXI, AXIe is an open system, and users may mix and match modules and chassis from multiple vendors. Also, like PXI, AXIe is based on a high-speed PCIe (PCI Express) data fabric, a low latency and high-speed bus. AXIe data communication is so similar to PXI, that a controller perceives the two to be the same, and uses similar IVI or LabView drivers to control the instruments.
If AXIe is so similar to PXI, what are the differences, and why are they needed? This is a good question, and will be the theme for the remainder of this tutorial. The most obvious difference is the module size, so let’s start with that.