Generators Create Arbitrary Waveforms At 1.2 GSamples/s

March 15, 2007
Ideal for mixed-signal testing, this family of arbitrary waveform generators features 14-b vertical resolution at sampling rates from 10 MSamples/s to 1.2 GSamples/s.

Electronic products are more becoming a mixture of digital and analog circuits than one or the other. For that reason, creating test waveforms requires a new level of complexity involving stable carriers, advanced modulation, and multiple signal streams. And with that in mind, Tektronix (Beaverton, OR) has introduced the AWG5000 Series of arbitrary waveform generators for generating the signals needed to evaluate mixed-signal devices. Not only can the generator reproduce the signals found in "pure" analog and digital circuits, it can also produce the waveforms of software-defined radios (SDRs), commercial and military radar systems, ultrawideband (UWB) systems, and even cellular and WiMAX wireless signals. Instruments in the AWG5000 series offer variable sample rates from 10 MSamples/s to 1.2 GSamples/s with 14-b resolution in configurations with either two or four analog channels and as many as 28 digital outputs in selected models.

The AWG5000 Series of arbitrary waveform generators (see figure) consists of four different instrument models differing in the number of analog output channels and maximum sampling rate. The AWG5002 and AWG5004 are two- and four-channel models, respectively, each with 600 MSamples/s maximum sampling rate, 14-b resolution, and 16 Mpoints/channel waveform memory. The AWG5012 and AWG5014 are two- and four-channel models, respectively, each with maximum sampling rate of 1.2 GSamples/s, 14-b resolution, and 16 Mpoints/channel waveform memory. Each of the units includes two digital markers per analog output channel. Both the AWG5002 and AWG5012 provide as many as 28 channels of digital data at rates to 1.2 Gb/s as an option. An additional option boosts the waveform memory to 32 Mpoints/channel.

The 14-b vertical resolution translates into a spurious-free dynamic range (SFDR) of 80 dB for a 1-MHz signal and 64 dB for a 10-MHz signal for evaluating the most advanced digital RF components and systems at baseband or intermediate-frequency (IF) levels. The AWG5000 Series instruments are versatile enough to test both analog and digital in-phase/quadrature (I/Q) and IF signals. The instruments can generate anything as straightforward as amplitude-modulated (AM) and frequency-modulated (FM) signals to complex multi-level signals such as pulse-amplitude-modulation (PAM) signals. The four-channel models are ideal for testing in 4 X 4 MIMO applications.

Operating the arbitrary waveform generators will seem familiar to most engineers, since they in fact contain an embedded personal computer and run on the Windows XP operating system. This allows the use of third-party software products, such as MATLAB and MathCad, to generate advanced waveforms within the instrument itself or to operate with files imported from an external computer. Moving files is easy, since the AWG5000 series instruments feature four Universal Serial Bus (USB) ports along with GPIB and Gigabit Ethernet local-area-network (LAN) interfaces. Generated waveforms are clearly displayed on an XGAcompatible, 10.4-in. color liquid-crystal-display (LCD) touch-screen display.

The AWG5000 Series instruments owe much to their high-performance digital-to-analog converters (DACs), but support these components with an internal reference clock with phase noise of better than –90 dBc/Hz offset 100 kHz from the carrier. The instruments include an internal trigger generator with adjustable range of 1 µs to 10 s and 0.1-µs resolution. The skew between outputs can be controlled over a range of ±5 ns with 5-ps resolution.

The AWG5000 Series of arbitrary waveform generators are self-contained solutions to mixed-signal testing at analog and digital baseband and IF levels. By adding the firm's AWG7000 arbitrary waveform generator, with 20 GSamples/s and 10-b vertical-resolution performance levels, users can create full waveform control over the baseband, IF, and RF levels of a design. P&A: $25,000 and up (AWG5000 Series instruments), $7500 (option 03 for 28 channels of digital data on model AWG5002), $10,000 (option 03 for 28 channels of digital data on model AWG5012), and $7500 to $15,000 (options for increasing waveform memory to 32 Mpoints/channel).

Tektronix, Inc., 14200 SW Karl Braun Dr., P.O. Box 500, Beaverton, OR 97077; (800) 835-9433, Internet:

About the Author

Jack Browne | Technical Contributor

Jack Browne, Technical Contributor, has worked in technical publishing for over 30 years. He managed the content and production of three technical journals while at the American Institute of Physics, including Medical Physics and the Journal of Vacuum Science & Technology. He has been a Publisher and Editor for Penton Media, started the firm’s Wireless Symposium & Exhibition trade show in 1993, and currently serves as Technical Contributor for that company's Microwaves & RF magazine. Browne, who holds a BS in Mathematics from City College of New York and BA degrees in English and Philosophy from Fordham University, is a member of the IEEE.

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