One question we are often asked is, "How long will the testing
take?" The answer to this question can lead to very different
consequences depending on the vendor's schedule. If the device is
expected to go on the market within the next year, then the answer
is merely logistical. However, if the device is expected to go to
market next week, then testing at this point is a leap of faith,
simply because there is no guarantee that the device will pass.
Time for debugging must be a factor in test scheduling.
The process of obtaining USB-IF certification can be difficult, but not just because of the specification requirements. Often developers uncover problems not related to USB compliance during certification testing. For this reason, it can be helpful to test as early as possible, preferably well before the product is scheduled to be released. Of course, it is not always possible to test early, either because product requirements are in flux, extensive debug is necessary, or even because final hardware is not available. It occurred to us here at MCCI that it might be helpful for us to outline some tests that engineers can perform on their USB products in advance of those products entering the Compliance Lab. Using them may help flush out compliance problems during normal, pre-test development.
The tests we are recommending are tests that most consumer electronics product engineers should be able to perform with a small hardware investment and as little overall cost to their test budget as possible. After all, with the economic environment being what is, anything we can do to help companies avoid extra test costs or delayed market releases is for the best. Some of these tests we're going to tell you about come from the USB-IF compliance test suite, while others are our original work. Regardless, it is our hope to help you achieve USB-IF compliance for your USB product.