New Industry Products

Protocol Analyzer Platform for Next-Generation USB4 and Thunderbolt 3

March 12, 2019 by Paul Shepard

In advance of the release of the upcoming USB4 standard, Teledyne LeCroy, Inc. announced and demonstrated the first protocol analyzer platform for testing next-generation USB4 and Thunderbolt 3 systems. The convergence of the underlying Thunderbolt and USB protocols in the USB4 specification will increase compatibility among USB Type-C™ connector-based products, simplifying how people connect their devices.

Teledyne LeCroy's new Voyager M4x Protocol Analyzer will enable companies to develop high-performance products with the USB4 standard, targeted for release in mid-2019.

"The USB Implementers Forum is pleased to see Teledyne LeCroy announce support for USB4 testing with their protocol analyzer platform," said USB-IF President and COO Jeff Ravencraft. "An important contributor to the USB ecosystem, Teledyne LeCroy's participation and support for USB4 compliance will help our members bring products to market that deliver high performance and reliability."

Teledyne Voyager M4x

"Teledyne LeCroy's protocol analyzers have been at the forefront of USB development since 1997, and we are excited to help early adopters of the USB4 standard bring higher-performance products to market," said Joe Mendolia, vice-president of marketing at Teledyne LeCroy's Protocol Solutions Group. "Today's live demonstration of the Voyager M4x, which will begin shipment in April 2019, underscores the technical expertise and leadership Teledyne LeCroy offers to early adopters in the USB ecosystem."

About the Voyager M4x Protocol Analyzer

The Voyager M4x Protocol Analyzer platform leverages Teledyne LeCroy's cutting-edge T.A.P.4™ probe technology and industry-leading analysis software, allowing developers to verify interoperability and compliance for the rapidly expanding USB Type-C™ market.

Designed to be fully backward compatible for testing legacy USB links, the Voyager M4x captures 100% of bus and protocol traffic for USB4 devices and systems. The T.A.P.4 probe technology locks on the signal-under-test without impacting critical link training and speed negotiation handshaking.


The Voyager M4x features the industry's highest fidelity probe design and provides unmatched reliability when testing devices at the full USB4 Gen3x2 (40Gb/s aggregate) speed. Designed to sit inline between host and hub, the M4x will non-intrusively record all USB Type-C signaling including USB4/TBT3 data, side-band and CC (PD) messages. Hot plug any combination of USB4 host and hub and the Voyager system will record the speed negotiation handshake and lock at the specified rate. The Voyager is fully compatible with both active and passive cable environments.

Advanced Triggering

The Voyager provides hardware triggering to pinpoint protocol events of interest. Trigger events can be specified at the lowest levels including bus states and ordered sets (TS1/TS2, De-Skew, CL2_ACK) or header fields including hop ID or packet types (tunneled, control, credit_sync, etc..). Voyager's graphical interface makes setup easy to trigger on CC events including Alt-mode and PD messages, VBUS and CC voltage levels.

Analysis Software

The Voyager utilizes the legendary CATC Trace - the industry's de facto standard display and shows all packets labeled and interleaved in a single view. Traffic from the logical USB4 and side-band channels can be individually filtered, searched or exported from the trace. The Transfer level can be expanded and collapsed to show the logical layer including all ordered sets and control packets. While in line, it will record and display all register reads and writes to provide an unambiguous picture of the router and path configuration space.

Capture and verify complete link training and control packet exchange for USB4 & Thunderbolt™ 3 (click on image to enlarge)

Key Features

  • Capture / Analyze USB4 including PD & SBU traffic - See end-to-end host, hub, and device operation
  • Integrated analyzer / exerciser - Multifunction system with future option allowing USB4 traffic generation
  • USB Type-C & PD analyzer - Capture Type-C and Power Delivery protocol messages and state changes
  • CATC Trace Analysis Software - Expand / Collapse transport layer for faster interpretation of USB traffic
  • A.P.4™ probing - Leverages Teledyne LeCroy's proven analog front end architecture to provide the truest picture of power-on link training
  • 32GB Recording Capacity - Capture long recording sessions for analysis and problem solving
  • Detects numerous USB4 Link & Protocol errors - Critical link and timing errors are detected and labeled
  • External Trigger In / Out - Use the Voyager to identify any packet and toggle a scope or logic analyzer (via SMA connectors)
  • Cascade Multiple Analyzers - Synchronize recordings across multiple analyzers including legacy USB 3.x Voyager systems
  • Hardware Triggering - Trigger on USB4 protocol events to isolate important traffic, specific errors or data patterns
  • Gbe or USB 3.0 Upload - Sustained transfer rates of 600Mbps over Gbe provide instant access to captured data

Flexible hardware

The front-end of the Voyager analyzer features USB4 rated connectors that support the full 40Gb/s data rate for loss-less capture of traffic from all active links simultaneously. The Voyager M4x platform includes 32GB of recording memory plus USB 3.0 and Gigabit Ethernet links for uploading recorded traffic to the host PC. Field upgradeable firmware ensures future support for new features or changes to the USB specification.

Future Enhancements

A comprehensive exerciser and compliance test capability will be available as optional enhancements in the future. Support for PD 3.0 and USB4 traffic generation using a script-based APIs will allow users to transmit any arbitrary sequence of USB4 and PD messages for functional and conformance testing. Future enhancements allowing capture of USB 3.2 bonded 10Gb/s protocol traffic will also fill a critical need for developers targeting Superspeed USB 3.2 applications.