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Tektronix outs PAM4 analysis sol'ns for oscilloscopes

06 Oct 2015

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Tektronix Inc. has unveiled what it touts as the industry's most comprehensive set of analysis tools for emerging PAM4 modulation measurement needs supporting both optical and electrical interfaces. According to the company, the tools work on both DPO70000SX 70GHz real time and DSA8300 equivalent time oscilloscopes, ensuring that no matter which instrument configuration is needed for a particular application, the correct results will be delivered with the highest degree of accuracy.

PAM4 is being adopted in the latest 400 Gigabit Ethernet standard by the IEEE P802.3bs working group for 400G (typically 8 x 50G) electrical and optical interfaces. Compared to traditional NRZ that uses two-level signaling, the four-level scheme used in PAM4 significantly increases signal complexity and places new demands on test equipment for performance and noise sensitivity.

PAM4 analysis solutions

The ability to reliably characterise PAM4 signals from 13GBaud to 56GBaud with a common set of tools supporting both optical and electrical domains is key to advancing this modulation methodology into the industry. The industry-leading low noise performance of both the Tektronix DPO70000SX and DSA8300 oscilloscopes claims to give engineers and researchers a choice of powerful and accurate signal acquisition test systems, adapted directly to support multi-level direct modulation analysis.

Analysis of multi-level signaling found in PAM4 requires an oscilloscope with low noise and good signal-to-noise ratio to accurately acquire and analyse the multiple bit states. The Tektronix DPO70000SX oscilloscope uses Asynchronous Time Interleaving (ATI) technology to deliver unprecedented low noise acquisitions, as much as 30 per cent lower noise than conventional frequency interleaved performance oscilloscopes, added the company.

Optical PAM4 measurement analysis benefits from low noise acquisitions as well. With the optical acquisition technology available with the DSA8300 series sampling oscilloscope, Tektronix claims to offer the lowest noise and highest sensitivity in the industry, even with full clock recovery in place. This level of noise performance in the Tektronix 80C15/CRTP optical module is a great fit for optical PAM4 analysis with its full complement of TDEC and SR4 conformance measurement capabilities.

Features in the PAM4 analysis toolset include the ability to analyse full waveforms or correlated waveforms, reference level settings for pass/fail analysis of multi-level thresholds, numerical rise/fall times for every LSB, MSB level and built-in clock recovery using PAM-specific PLL models provided by Tektronix.

PAM4 analysis solutions for Tektronix DSA8300 and DPO70000SX oscilloscope models will be available in 4Q15. Core analysis tools that extend existing DPOJET or 80SJNB solutions to perform PAM4 analysis are priced from $7,500.

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