Electronic Design

Oscilloscope Trio Attacks High-Speed Serial Data And RF Testing

Have you ever had the feeling that your scope wasn’t up to the measurement tasks you need to complete? If so, join the club. Virtually every digital bus has gone serial, and the data speeds keep rising relentlessly. With most serial buses now running at rates well into the gigahertz region, increasingly faster test equipment is needed to make the tests and measurements demanded of the standards, design evaluation, and manufacturing specifications. Three families from Agilent Technologies should make those testing jobs faster, easier, and more precise for high-speed serial interfaces and RF.

The Agilent InfiniiVision 7000 series of 10 mixed-signal and digital storage oscilloscopes (DSOs) offers much better signal visibility at low cost. Signal visibility is key to seeing subtle signal details and infrequent events that elude engineers during a design evaluation, and it can cut design and debug time significantly. To achieve this improved visibility, the scopes’ 12.1-in. XGA LCD display allows signal details to be seen more easily. It also provides more space to display multiple signals—up to four analog signals and 16 digital signals (Fig. 1).

Additionally, the InfiniiVision 7000 series provides an update rate to 100,000 waveforms per second to be displayed, so you won’t miss critical details with deep memory in operation. Better still, it improves scope responsiveness, usability, and display quality. Agilent says the update rate is 5000 times faster than that on any other scope.

A wide range of software options makes testing faster and easier. For instance, these scopes provide serial decode and triggering for serial buses like RS-232, I2C, SPI, CAN, LIN, and FlexRay. Other applications include rapid core-assisted debug of designs with Altera and Xilinx FPGAs, segmented memory for analysis of short pulses and serial packets, offline PC viewing, and sharing of previously acquired scope data and RF contextual viewing of scope data using Vector Signal Analysis software.

The InfiniiVision 7000 scopes are currently available. The low-end DSO 7032A features a bandwidth of 350 MHz with two channels. It costs $6950. The high-end MSO 7104A has a 1-GHz bandwidth, four analog channels, and 16 digital channels. It costs $17,900.

According to Agilent, the Infiniium 90000A series offers the deepest acquisition memory depth of any oscilloscope (Fig. 2). These scopes break the barrier of 1 billion acquisition samples and can capture up to 25 ms at 40 G acquisition samples/second on up to four channels simultaneously. This ability should greatly improve signal integrity measurements in high-speed serial data and RF testing.

The Infiniium 90000A scopes include InfiniiScan Plus, which the company calls the world’s first hardware/software integrated triggering system. It enables a huge number of trigger combinations for almost any debug problem. Also, it offers 150-ps hardware-event identification and 75-ps software-event identification. This new trigger system can identify glitches faster than 250 ps. The 90000A is the only scope with 4-GHz or more bandwidth that offers standard analog high-definition TV triggers to address the growing HDTV market. Both the DSO and DSA models can make more than 150,000 measurements per second and have modes supporting over 300,000 triggers per second.

Another key feature is the superior noise floor on all models. For example, the 2.5-GHz model has a 147-µV rms noise floor at the 5-mV/division setting. This series of scopes also offers a wide range of applications, including DDR, PCI Express, Display Port, HDMI, Serial ATA, Serial Attached SCSI, Ethernet to 10 GHz, USB, wireless USB, jitter analysis, RF signal analysis, eye pattern analysis, and protocol decoding analysis. Models offer bandwidths of 2.5, 4, 6, 8, 12, and 13 GHz. Memory options of 10, 20, 50, 100, 200, 500 Msamples/s and 1 Gsamples/s are available. Prices begin at $29,000.

Finally, Agilent’s 86108A is a new plug-in module for the 86100 C DCA-J scope family (Fig. 3). This precision waveform analyzer assists engineers involved with design verification and validation of high-speed serial data systems and components such as PCI Express and SATA. Its integrated instrumentation-grade hardware clock recovery circuits make measurement setup easier. With this capability, the module can trigger directly from the single-ended or differential data signal, eliminating the need for a separate trigger input. It easily accommodates spread-spectrum clocking as well.

An internal phase detector permits accurate measurement of phase-locked-loop (PLL) bandwidth, jitter transfer, and jitter/phase noise spectrum. With this capability, you can make simple and accurate measurements to determine PLL bandwidth on devices with either clock or data inputs and outputs. The channel bandwidth of the 86108A is up to 35 GHz, and the residual jitter is less than 100 fs. This low intrinsic jitter permits the most accurate measurement of high-speed data waveforms. Shipping now, the 86108A costs $85,000.

Agilent Technologies


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