Boundary-scan is a technology that’s been around for over ten years and is delivering the results foreseen by the IEEE working group that developed the 1149.1 specification. Many SMT (surface mount) production lines around the world use boundary-scan to solve the testing challenges presented by today’s complex designs. These users are realizing the vision of the specification, using it to restore test access and fault coverage to assemblies with few physical test points relative to the number of electrical nets to be tested. As the boundary-scan standard has gained acceptance and credibility, users, chip vendors and tools providers have developed important extensions of the original vision. Among the extensions already available or under active consideration is the use of boundary-scan for analog testing, concurrent programming of multi-vendor cPLD’s, dynamic verification of high-speed communication channels, and application within higher-level electronic assemblies beyond printed circuit boards i.e. to subsystems and systems. This paper describes the effectiveness of boundaryscan at the system level, focusing on the use of IEEE Std. 1149.1 compatible devices and ATPG tools to accomplish system level testing and in-system configuration.

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