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Electronic Design

Stress Your Comm Devices, Not Yourself, With 7-GHz Generator

Signal integrity is becoming more important—and harder to evaluate—with every leap in communication speeds. Checking the signal integrity of your latest design is a two-part problem. Acquiring and looking at signals is one part. The Agilent 81141A serial pulse data generator targets the other part—stimulating the system, especially under stress.

The 81141A outputs a variety of data formats plus user-defined or software-generated patterns at up to 7 GHz and with transition times below 20 ps. As a result, it can accurately characterize components being developed for the next-generation serial buses used in high-speed transmission systems (see the figure).

Its multiple data formats, including R1, RZ, and NRZ, with configurable width, duty cycle, and cross points support many types of tests. The generator is well suited for producing pseudorandom binary sequences, and a 32-Mbit memory enables designers to create "real-world" patterns. Sequencing and looping are available for emulating protocol-based data.

The instrument's precision low-jitter signals (less than 1 ps rms) allow accurate physical-layer testing. A linear delay modulation capability of up to 1 GHz makes fast and precise jitter tolerance and jitter transfer measurements possible.

Its extensive triggering capabilityensures that it easily interacts with other instruments. In Trigger In mode, it can select and run different pulses or data streams based on predefined signals or edges. In Trigger Out mode, it can send a trigger sequence to external devices, like an oscilloscope. The trigger can be divided by the clock signal to indicate the start of a data pattern.

The 81141A costs $88,000. Shipments will begin this month.

Agilent Technologies Inc.

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