USB Explorer 280 Protocol Analyzer

Multifunction USB 3.0 and 2.0 Test System


Explorer 280
USB Explorer 280
Multifunction USB 3.0 and 2.0 Test System

The Ellisys USB Explorer 280 is a sophisticated protocol test and analysis system for USB SuperSpeed traffic monitoring, driver and software stack debugging, and performance analysis. The USB Explorer 280 is designed to reduce R&D time by finding issues early and debugging more efficiently, and can improve quality and reliability by verifying adherence to the specification.

  • Analyze USB 3.0 (SuperSpeed) and USB 2.0 links (High Speed, Full Speed, Low Speed)
  • Emulate USB hosts and devices
  • Automatically detect link speed and SS receivers
  • Upload and display live data during recording
  • Record LFPS states and display state transitions
  • Connect to differential SMA for alternative front-end probing during prototype stages

The USB Explorer 280 builds on a successful legacy of Ellisys USB analyzer and generator products, and delivers a superior design efficiency that includes an embedded 4GB of memory, configuration-flexible hardware, and a custom-made processor with the power needed to test and analyze the USB 3.0 5GT/s SuperSpeed mode.

Each Ellisys USB Explorer 280 hardware unit is capable of acting as either a protocol analyzer or packet generator, depending on the configuration.

Data sheet Explorer280, Technical data

See download section for manuals and documentation


The Ellisys USB Explorer 280 Analyzer includes extensive protocol analysis features, including real-time monitoring and live upload of captured traffic, detailed decoding of standard and class requests, trigger, filter, and search functions, and comprehensive statistical analyses. Automated support for spread spectrum clocking (SSC), data scrambling, and receiver equalization techniques is included.

The USB Explorer 280 Analyzer is based on the intuitive Ellisys Visual USB™ software application that is well-proven for performance optimization and validation of device enumeration, bus operation, and interoperability testing. New analysis features designed specifically for USB SuperSpeed have been added to provide the user with a comprehensive analysis solution ideal for any USB design effort.

The Ellisys USB Explorer 280 Generator supplements protocol analysis by emulating USB hosts and devices. The USB Explorer 280 Generator is ideal for testing corner cases, error recovery protocols, link power state transitions, and link training issues. The Generator includes a low-level, powerful scripting interface favored by engineers looking to control protocol sequences and responses at precise timing granularities.

The Ellisys USB Explorer 280 Duo is a highly flexible bundle of two full-featured units that can be used as one analyzer and one generator, two analyzers, or two generators, depending on the needs of the user. Even more convenient that simply having these two functions on a single hardware unit, this innovative and flexible architecture allows engineers to share units among the R&D team.



Typical Setup

USB Explorer 280 Analyzer
Analyzer Applications
  • USB host and device traffic monitoring
  • Drivers and software stacks debugging
  • Performance analysis
  • Link state analysis
Analyzer Features
  • Automatic detection of link speed
  • Automatic detection of SS receivers
  • Hardware triggering and filtering
  • InstantTiming™ view for graphical, intuitive understanding of bi-directional traffic elements and critical timing measurements
Typical Analysis Setup

The USB Explorer 280 is connected in a logically passive mode to record traffic and bus events passing between host and device. The analyzer provides same-link concurrent support for USB 3.0 and USB 2.0 speeds, which is especially valuable for development of hubs supporting USB 3.0 and USB 2.0 specifications.


Setup w Generator

Typical Generator Setup

USB Explorer 280 Generator
Generator Applications
  • USB host and device emulation
  • Testing of error recovery mechanisms
  • Stress testing for performance
  • Compliance verification
Generator Features
  • Generation of arbitrary packets with precise timing
  • Error injection capabilities to test recovery mechanisms
  • Replay of traces captured by analyzer
  • Powerful scripting environment with integrated editor and debugger
Host Emulation Setup

The USB Explorer 280 Generator is connected through a USB Explorer 280 Analyzer to a USB device. The Generator emulates the automated protocol processes of the USB host, while allowing the user full control over these processes, including arbitrary packet and error generation. The Analyzer records all traffic and gives realtime performance and compliance information.


USB 3.0 Analysis Software

The following screenshot shows the Ellisys USB 3.0 analysis software. A Mass Storage trace is open and a SCSI Read transfer is open down to the packets.


This screenshot shows an full overview of the Mas Storage traffic in the Instant Timing view. The two lines represent the upstream (top) and downstream (bottom) links. Green represents IN transactions and blue OUT transactions. The first part of the traffic is bursted and achieves about 400 MB/s while the following traffic shows Not Ready mechanism and achieves about 100 MB/s.


The next screenshot is more zoomed-in and we can distinguish packets and ordered sets. The gray blocks are TSEQ ordered sets. Both brown and green packets are flagged because low-level errors have been detected.


This screenshot is even more zoomed-in and symbols can now be distinguished. We can clearly see which symbol is erroneous.



USB 3.0 Generation Software

The following screenshot shows the Ellisys USB 3.0 generator IDE. A script emulating Mass Storage traffic is open. This software can be used to edit, run and debug scripts all within the same environment.


USB 3.0 Examiner Compliance suite

The Ellisys SuperSpeed compliance software detects automatically the capabilities of the host or of the device, and displays the relevant tests accordingly. A simple click will run all necessary test and a compliance report will be generated at the end of the session.

Compliance test

Compliance test