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MIPI Interoperability and Conformance: Interview with David Woolf (Part 1)

I constantly receive questions about MIPI plug-fest and other certification programs through my business engagements as well as other general MIPI questions.

For this reason I wanted to interview the expert, Mr. David Woolf Senior Engineer at UNH-IOL, which actively engages in interoperability and conformance tests for various MIPI protocols. See more information at UNH-IOL web site: www.iol.unh.edu.

This interview will be posted in several parts to keep the interest and make the posts short and not boring. BTW, the MIPI Alliance Face-to-face meeting is this week in Seoul and I’ll keep you posted on interesting demo’s at a later post.


Question: David, can you tell us a little bit about UNH and the MIPI Interoperability and conformance program?

Answer: The University of New Hampshire InterOperability Laboratory (UNH-IOL) was founded in 1988. Since then we’ve done conformance and interoperability testing in dozens of different technologies. We started working with MIPI Alliance in early 2007. The series of MIPI interfaces have been some of the most interesting technologies I’ve worked with. We’re approaching 6 billion mobile phone connections. It’s exciting to be working on a technology that most of the world will be carrying around in their pocket.


Question: What Interoperability and conformance tests are offered by UNH for MIPI protocols?

Answer: Currently we offer D-PHY Transmitter, D-PHY Receiver, D-PHY S-Parameters, CSI-2 Protocol for Transmitters and Receivers, CSI-2 Interop, DSI Protocol for Transmitters and Receivers, DCS Protocol for Transmitters and Receivers, and DSI Interop. Soon we’ll be offering M-PHY, LLI, and BIF services.


Question: What are the differences between UNH MIPI Interoperability and conformance programs to USB certification or PCIe plugfest based on your understanding?

Answer: USB-IF and PCI-SIG have put together very rigid conformance and interop programs. Products are required to go through that program in order to use the USB or PCI logo in marketing their products. That’s probably necessary to maintain a level of quality in the marketplace, because most products going through those programs are headed directly into the hands of consumers. At the end of the day though, consumers don’t care about S-parameters or skew. All of the work that goes into testing get’s boiled down to a logo, that the consumer should be able to trust.
However, MIPI is different. The products we’re testing are components of mobile phones. Before getting to the consumer they’ll be integrated into handset designs by experienced engineers. Those engineers are interested in learning more about those components than a single logo can tell them. The engineers want to know how well they work. They want to know things like: What kind of margin will they have? Will they operate well at different temperatures? That’s why our reports typically include plots, measurements, and detailed explanations of the components characteristics and what optional features are implemented.


Question: Why MIPI protocol Interoperability is important?

Answer: Ultimately, Interoperability is what we care about. Products need to work together. In MIPI, things get complicated because of the sheer volume of options that products may implement. Different numbers of lanes, different image resolutions, different data rates, different clocking. Making sure that each of these things is implemented properly, and defined properly is important to MIPI interoperability.


Stay tuned to the next post with more Answers from David.
If you have further questions you can send to both of us using this page and we’ll try to answer within a reasonable time.


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