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Oscilloscope Firmware Update adds PAM-4 BER and up to 40 Channel Support
19 April 2016 – Keysight Technologies introduced two software updates for its real-time oscilloscope products. The software updates are currently available in the Infiniium oscilloscope firmware version 5.60. The N8827A PAM-4 analysis software update adds bit error ratio (BER) capabilities for 4-level pulse amplitude modulation (PAM-4) based signals. The N8834A MultiScope software update adds support for Keysight’s InfiniiVision oscilloscopes.
The N8827A PAM-4 analysis software update adds a BER and symbol error ratio (SER) measurement tool designed to help engineers perform BER and SER measurements on PAM-4 signals. Measuring the BER or SER of a PAM-4 signal allows designers to fine tune the transmitter or receiver equalization parameters of their PAM-4 devices by highlighting where burst error failures can impact a receiver’s forward error correction (FEC) protocol. The N8827A software is supported on Keysight’s Infiniium S-Series, 90000A, V-Series and Z-Series oscilloscopes; as well as the discontinued 90000 X- and 90000 Q-Series oscilloscopes.
Historically, since many PAM-4 implementations take advantage of forward error correction, it is possible to operate a communication link that uses PAM-4 operating at a BER of 10e-6 or 10e-5 or even greater. By comparison, traditional non-return-to-zero (NRZ) or PAM-2 based signaling technologies operate at a BER level of 10e-12 or lower. At 10e-6 or greater, such BER calculations for PAM-4 signals are now well within the reasonable measuring capacity of the Infiniium Z-Series and V-Series real-time oscilloscopes. In addition to BER measurement, this new feature allows engineers to also identify and locate burst errors on a continuous repeating patterns.
“The new BER feature of our N8827A PAM-4 analysis software gives customers confidence that their receiver architecture is correct,” said Dave Cipriani, vice president and general manager of Keysight’s oscilloscope business. “The software now allows engineers to isolate the causes of burst errors, which can significantly reduce their debug time.”
The N8834A MultiScope software enables engineers to connect multiple Infiniium and InfiniiVision oscilloscopes, allowing them to have up to 40 time-correlated analog channels available for signal acquisition. Designers working on high-speed, multilane applications, such as optical networking, MIMO (multiple input multiple output) antennas, power rail analysis, DDR memory and high-speed serial standards, can gain insight faster, save money and improve their productivity using the N8834A MultiScope application to make simultaneous measurements across multiple lanes. The 5.60 software release allows engineers to use MultiScope on InfiniiVision oscilloscopes while running the software on their PC. Previously, MultiScope only worked on Infiniium oscilloscopes.
“Now that the MultiScope software can support InfiniiVision oscilloscopes, customers can run multi-channel applications, such as a three-phase power application, at a lower cost. This allows Keysight to broaden the solution space we cover and help our customers reduce their cost to test,” added Cipriani.
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