To accurately design and characterize high-speed communications chips, designers require a scope with a good deal of performance. It needs to have low jitter, high bandwidth, a predictable frequency response, and low noise. The scope also must be capable of clock recovery, which is critical for compliance test. A nice extra is the ability to embed/de-embed cables and fixtures as well as apply various equalizations.
Agilent hopes to make the job a little easier with the launch of the 86108B precision waveform analyzer. The 86108B comes in the form of a “mega-module” plug-in for the 86100C/D DCA mainframes and sports banner specs of residual jitter below 50 fs, channel bandwidths to 50 GHz, and integrated clock recovery to 32 Gbits/s.
The combination of the 86108B plug-in and 86100C/D mainframe comprises a sampling oscilloscope that is suited to accurate characterization of ICs at chip level (see the figure). A sampling scope or, more accurately, an equivalent-time scope can be advantageous to a real-time scope in some applications.
“A sampling scope will give you the highest analog bandwidth, lowest intrinsic jitter, and a lower noise floor,” says Rob Sleigh, business development manager for Agilent’s Digital Test Division. “It’s also less than half the cost of a real-time scope with equivalent bandwidth.”
The flexible, modular architecture of the 86100C/D DCA mainframe allows users to plug in time-domain reflectometer and optical modules. Thus, you can perform both optical and electrical analysis with one benchtop unit. The end result is an instrument that’s capable of R&D and validation work for a full communications chipset.
The 86108B analyzer module targets communications standards ranging from 25-Gbit/s InfiniBand up to the IEEE 802.3ba standard at 100 Gbits/s. The instrument will have applications both at semiconductor companies designing and validating serializer-deserializer (SERDES) chips, FPGAs, and ASICs and at networking companies building routers, switches, and line cards.
The two-channel plug-in comes in two analog-bandwidth options: a low-bandwidth version (35 GHz) and a high-bandwidth model (50 GHz). The former boasts residual jitter of <60 fs typical while the latter offers <50 fs typical. Noise is 500 µV typical for the low-bandwidth version and 800 µV typical for the high-bandwidth model. Each model also offers two clock-recovery options of either 50 Mbits/s to 16 Gbits/s or 50 Mbits/s to 32 Gbits/s.
Advanced capabilities include the ability to embed or simulate channels, as well as the de-embedding of cables and fixtures. Also, the 86108B analyzer performs analysis of closed eyes or low-amplitude signals using the front-panel auxiliary clock-recovery inputs. Triggering the scope off of these inputs then facilitates the use of equalization for those low-amplitude signals.
Module pricing starts at $80,000 and ranges up to $125,000. The 861088B waveform analyzer module is available now.