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Wavecrest scopes get bandwidth boosts to 13GHz

Posted: 18 Aug 2005 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:oscilloscope? wavecrest? sia 3100? sia 3300? sia 3400?

Boosting bandwidth to ensure accuracy of critical measurements, oscilloscope and signal-integrity instrument vendor Wavecrest announces improvements to its existing SIA 3100, SIA 3300, SIA 3400 and SIA 3600 Signal Integrity Analyzer products. The entire family of SIAs now tout bandwidths to 13GHz.

This capability is available free as a software upgrade for existing Wavecrest SIA 3100, 3300, 3400 and 3600 customers. It is included as standard software on new sales of these products.

The SIA instruments also incorporate a high-resolution direct measurement design that measures both timing and amplitude separately. That's in contrast to digitizing realtime scopes that might use error-causing interpolation techniques (because each manufacturer uses its own interpolation technique, it's extremely difficult to correlate measurement results).

Doesn't add errors

What's more, limited-bandwidth, coupled with interpolation techniques, can cause digitizing oscilloscopes to add error to measurements. These measurement errors, together with risetime, falltime, amplitude, timing, and jitter, can keep you from meeting compliance standards, and correlating with specs.

As an alternative, Wavecrest integrated an equivalent time sampling oscilloscope, arguing that it's a preferred instrument due to its accuracy, high resolution, and high bandwidth. The company is fond of pointing out that with its SIA instruments, you measure the performance of your device, not the error of the instrument.

Measuring signal integrity

The boost is significant as serial data-standard clock and data signals get faster. The combination of the oscilloscope bandwidth improvement, and the firm's jitter analysis tools included within the SIA family's GigaView 1.5 software, provide a way to measure signal integrity for many standards. These include the likes of PCI Express Gen 2 at 5Gbps, SATA II at 3Gbps, 4x Fiber Channel at 4.25Gbps, and XAUI at 3.125Gbps.

The company's GigaView v1.5 software uses DSP (digital signal processing) algorithms to enhance the bandwidth of the internal's of its scopes to 13GHz. It's used when measuring periodic waveforms such as clock or repeating data patterns.

The company asserts that enhanced bandwidth will ensure increased accuracy when using one of these scopes to measure signal features such as risetime or falltime. Indeed, DSP is now an industry-standard way to improve the bandwidth of the hardware in oscilloscopes, and it is so used by Wavecrest competitors Tektronix and Agilent Technologies.

Dedicated tools

The GigaView software also includes dedicated tools that test all PHY (physical layer) amplitude and timing parameters. In addition to risetime and falltime, the software can help test de-emphasis ratio, eye opening, and total jitter, dishing up immediate Pass/Fail confirmation informationin one screen. The software also provides diagnostic tools.

The GigaView software uses Wavecrest's patented TailFit. It's an approved methodology for separating and identifying various jitter components, and providing a true and accurate total jitter number. Its unique capability lets you predict the future performance of a device or system to a BER (bit error rate) of 10-12 or lower.

- Alex Mendelsohn


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