Oscilloscope News

Keysight PAM 428 January 2015 – Keysight Technologies introduced the Keysight 86100D-9FP PAM-N analysis software. It is designed to help engineers quickly and accurately characterize PAM-4 (pulse amplitude modulation with four amplitude levels) signals using the Keysight 86100D DCA-X wide-bandwidth oscilloscope platform. The software supports a comprehensive analysis of optical and electrical PAM-4 signals.

Increasing demand for rich content and instant access to information is driving the need for increased network bandwidth in data centers. Simply building faster components is no longer an option for meeting this need. PAM-4 is a type of multilevel signaling designed to increase the amount of data that can be sent across high-speed digital communication links. PAM-4 designs, for example, will likely enable the transition from 100Gb to 400Gb Ethernet speeds.

Several industry groups and standards bodies are using, or actively considering using, PAM-4 technology to jump to the next-generation speed class and enable higher data rates for a given channel bandwidth compared to traditional non-return-to-zero (NRZ) signaling. While PAM-4 technology adapts some traditional NRZ measurement algorithms for PAM-4 signals, to fully analyze system performance, unique PAM-4 measurements and parameters are also required.

“The switch from NRZ to PAM-4 signaling presents many new design and measurement challenges for our customers,” said Dave Cipriani, vice president and general manager of Keysight’s Oscilloscope and Protocol Division. “Keysight’s analysis software helps engineers address these challenges and quickly get their designs to market.”

The new software option offers measurements such as:

  • Eye width, eye height and eye skew
  • Level amplitude, level noise and level skew
  • Amplitude level linearity

The PAM-4 option may also be combined with existing DCA-X software options to provide more analysis capability:

  • PAM-4 equalizers (LFE, CTLE, DFE) using 86100D Option 201
  • Embedding/de-embedding of PAM-4 channels using 86100D Option SIM InfiniiSim-DCA
  • Jitter and amplitude analysis on IEEE JP03 patterns using 86100D Option 200/300

Multilevel signaling systems are particularly susceptible to noise, so the 86100D’s low-noise, wide-bandwidth plug-in modules are particularly well suited for characterizing PAM signals. 86100D Option 9FP PAM-N analysis capabilities are supported by all 86100D DCA-X plug-in modules, such as the 86108B precision waveform analyzer module for accurate analysis of electrical signals to 32 Gbaud or the 86105D-281 for accurate analysis of high-speed optical signals. Additionally, engineers can perform offline analysis on saved or simulated PAM signals using N1010A Option 9TP PAM analysis software installed on a PC.


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