Electronic Design

Switch Modules And Advanced AWG Pack Performance Punch

A PXI/VXI switch-module/platform alternative plus a wide-band, wide-dynamic-range arbitrary waveform generator push T&M’s state of the art.

A low-cost, very high-performance alternative to PXI/VXI switch and measurement platforms and an arbitrary waveform generator that offers both wide-band and wide-dynamic-range signals simultaneously—these are just two of the latest arrivals from Agilent's busy test-and-measurement R&D department.

The 34980A multifunction switch/measure unit offers a broad range of core switch/measure functionality as an alternative to VXI and PXI at a 40% lower cost than comparable switch and measurement platforms (Fig. 1). The expandable and reconfigurable platform includes 19 mix-and-match switch and measurement modules. Pricing starts at $2350 for the eight-slot 3U-high mainframe with a built-in 6.5-digit multimeter (DMM). The modules are rated for low-frequency, RF, and microwave switching up to 20 GHz and include digital I/O, analog-to-digital converter, and counter/totalizer capabilities.

The modules support USB, local-area network, and GPIB standards for simple connections to a PC, other system-ready instruments, or a network access point. Standard off-the-shelf cables can be used. The platform can handle up to 560 two-wire multiplexer channels or 1024 two-wire matrix crosspoints. The system is compatible with Visual Basic, C/C++, Agilent VEE, LabView, and Visual Studio.NET with Agilent's T&M Toolkit 2.0 software. The 34980A is available now.

The N6030A arbitrary waveform generator (AWG) delivers 1.25-Gsample/s signals at 15 bits of vertical resolution simultaneously, giving DSP designers of advanced satellite and emerging communication systems another weapon in their arsenal (Fig. 2).

The AWG's dual differential-output channels drive both single-ended and balanced designs. Each independent channel provides 500 MHz of instantaneous analog bandwidth and a spurious-free dynamic range of ­65 dBc. Combining the N6030A with Agilent's PSG vector signal generator gives designers 1-GHz IQ bandwidths for simulating IF and RF subsystem tests at microwave frequencies. Clock phase noise is rated at ­110 dBc/Hz at a 10-kHz offset and a 1-GHz center frequency. The noise-floor rating is ­150 dBc/Hz.

Other ratings include 6.4-ns trigger resolution for a clock driving up to eight AWGs, 50-ps trigger repeatability, and marker resolution of 1.6 ns for a clock signal driving two AWGs. Marker repeatability is 500 ps.

The AWG comes with standard memory capacity of 8 Msamples/s. Optional 16-Msample/s memory is also available for complex and arbitrary waveforms. The N6030A and optional memory are due out this month. It starts at $50,000, while the optional 16-Msample/s memory costs an additional $10,000.

Agilent Technologies Inc.

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