Electronic Design

Scopes’ Speed Lends Them To Third-Generation Serial Data Analysis

With each generation of consumer electronics, system designs must transfer greater and greater amounts of data at increased bandwidths. As a result, serial data-bus architectures such as PCI Express and SATA are ever present, having supplanted parallel designs in high-speed applications.

These trends toward more data and bandwidth in serial architectures won’t be abating anytime soon, so to debug such high-speed serial interfaces, designers need test equipment that’s up to the task. Enter Tektronix’s DPO70000B digital phosphor oscilloscope (DPO) and DSA70000B digital serial analyzer (DSA) series (see the fig.). In addition to the existing attributes of Tek’s 70000 Series instruments, the “B” models provide excellent vertical noise performance, flat frequency response, and a high effective number of bits (ENOB). They also provide the fastest available hardware-based pattern triggering for advanced serial data bus speeds at rates up to 5 Gbits/s.

The DPO/DSA70000B Series oscilloscopes provide support on all channels simultaneously for high bandwidth, deep memory, fast sample rate, and fast waveform capture rate. The models can be used to debug signals running up to 12 Gbits/s on each of four lanes, making them suitable for developing and testing multi-lane, high-speed serial data applications including PCI Express 3.0, 6-Gbits/s SATA, SuperSpeed USB, HDMI, DisplayPort, and Ethernet.

Within the series are models with bandwidths of 4, 6, 8, 12.5, 16, and 20 GHz. The 20-GHz DSA72004B provides fifth harmonic measurements on signals running up to 8 Gbits/s and third harmonic measurements for data rates up to 12 Gbits/s. This performance satisfies the signal integrity measurement and compliance requirements of the latest third-generation serial bus architectures. The scopes’ FastAcq acquisition mode provides a capture rate greater than 300,000 waveforms per second for critical insight into signal behavior and in-depth analysis.

Signal integrity is assured through end-to-end bandwidth from the probe tip to the oscilloscope using Tektronix TriMode Probes. With these matching probes, users obtain full system bandwidth from the probe tip. Signal fidelity is achieved through an extremely low noise floor, flat frequency response, a low jitter measurement floor, and low trigger jitter. Vertical noise performance has improved over previous models by 1 dB to 2 dB for all vertical settings.

The scopes provide hardware-based, real-time serial pattern triggering up to 5 Gbits/s for NRZ and 8b/10b serial streams. This hardware trigger capability guarantees that the very first occurrence of a specified bit sequence on a data bus will be captured, as opposed to competing approaches which attempt to find the pattern using a post-processing activity after the acquisition is complete (possibly requiring many acquisitions to find the desired pattern). The hardware-based pattern trigger, along with the Protocol Trigger and Decode application, saves time when performing debugging and diagnostic work on new high-speed standards such as 5-Gbits/s SuperSpeed USB.

Tektronix also offers a broad range of software packages for high-speed serial data design debug and compliance verification. This includes DPOJET for jitter and timing analysis, serial data link analysis (SDLA) for testing transmitter, interconnects and receivers, and standard-specific packages for DDR, DisplayPort, PCI-Express, USB, HDMI, SATA, Ethernet, Fibre Channel and others.

An important aspect of these instruments is that through Tektronix’s SpeedBooster upgrade program, “B” series owners can upgrade their bandwidth from 4 GHz to 6, 8, 12.5, 16 and ultimately to 20 GHz. U.S. list prices begin at $53,300 for the 4-GHz DPO70404B.


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