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Oscilloscopes integrate PAM-4 analysis option

Posted: 31 Mar 2015 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:Keysight Technologies? oscilloscope? software? PAM-4?

Keysight Technologies has rolled out a software option for its S-series, V-series and Z-series real-time oscilloscopes that enables characterisation of pulse amplitude modulation with four amplitude levels (PAM-4) signals. According to the company, the N8827A/B PAM-4 analysis software offers measurements such as: eye width, eye height and eye skew; level amplitude, level noise and level skew; as well as amplitude level linearity.

Mobile computing applications are demanding more of the underlying computer Internet infrastructure. To enable higher Internet and server-farm performance, higher-speed connectivity among server systems is required. Conventional communication techniques often relied upon non-return-to-zero (NRZ) encoding. Industry experts however contend NRZ will not work in a 56Gb/s environment. One way to overcome this challenge is to change the modulation technique from NRZ to pulse amplitude modulation. This allows engineers to dramatically increase the amount of data they can send across high-speed digital communication links.

N8827A/B PAM-4 option

Several industry standards bodies are actively promoting PAM-4 technology to enable the next-generation speed class and push higher data rates for a given channel compared to traditional NRZ signaling. While PAM-4 technology leverages some traditional NRZ measurement algorithms for PAM-4 signals, to fully analyse system performance, unique PAM-4 measurements and parameters are required.

Engineers can combine the N8827A/B PAM-4 option with existing Infiniium real-time oscilloscope software tools to provide even more powerful analysis capability including: PAM-4 equalisers (LFE, CTLE) using the N5461A InfiniiSim serial data equalisation software; embedding/de-embedding of PAM-4 channels using the N5465A InfiniiSim waveform transformation toolset; and jitter and amplitude analysis on IEEE JP03 patterns using the N8813A EZJIT complete software tool.

Multilevel signaling systems are particularly susceptible to noise, so the V-series, Z-series and S-series real time oscilloscopes offer the industry's lowest noise floors for wide bandwidth real-time oscilloscopes, stated the company. When using the 63GHz Z-series oscilloscope, for example, designers can achieve accurate analysis of electrical PAM-4 signals to 32Gbaud. Additionally, engineers can perform offline analysis on stored PAM-4 signals using the N8900A Infiniium Offline oscilloscope analysis software installed on a PC.

- Christoph Hammerschmidt
??EE Times Europe

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