Oscilloscopes and Probes validate high-speed digital designs.

Press Release Summary:

Infiniium 54854A and 54855A are 4 and 6 GHz oscilloscopes that provide sample rate of 20 GSa/s on all 4 input channels simultaneously. They can also capture 4, full-bandwidth, real-time signals off single trigger event. InfiniiMax 1130A series active probes offer single-ended and differential measurements up to 7 GHz. Design allows use in difficult to reach situations such as probing between memory modules on server motherboards.

Original Press Release:

Agilent Technologies Introduces Industry-First 6 GHz, 20 GSa/s per Channel Oscilloscope and Probing Measurement System

New System Provides R&D Engineers with Industry's Fastest Probes Offering Unmatched Performance and Accuracy for Validating High-Speed Digital Designs

PALO ALTO, Calif., Nov. 1, 2002 -- Agilent Technologies Inc. (NYSE: A) today introduced a new family of 4 to 6 GHz real-time oscilloscopes, the only models in the industry that offer four full-bandwidth, 20 GSa/s per channel. When these new scopes are paired with the industry's fastest Agilent InfiniiMax active probes at 3.5 to 7 GHz, the new system delivers industry-leading performance, accuracy and probing connectivity. This new system is expected to be essential to R&D engineers in the computer, communications and semiconductor industries for validating and verifying the performance of new high-speed digital product designs.

"With the advances in process technologies, the complexity of high-speed digital designs has increased exponentially while putting intense pressure on designers to maintain the responsiveness, reliability, and functionality of their designs," said Galen Wampler, industry analyst at Prime Data. "As engineers strive to alleviate the gap between functionality and time-to-market, Agilent's new 4 GHz and 6 GHz family of oscilloscopes that sample at 20 GSa/s on all channels, and the new innovative probing system that provides both single-ended and differential measurements with full bandwidth to probe tip, will contribute significantly in validating these designs with accuracy."

Agilent 54854A and 54855A Infiniium oscilloscopes provide a sample rate of 20 GSa/s on all four input channels simultaneously, which improves measurement accuracy of designs based on PCI Express, HyperTransport and Serial ATA, and reduces the chance of signal aliasing. The oscilloscopes also can capture four, full-bandwidth, real-time signals off a single trigger event. The system's MegaZoom Deep Memory, which features up to 32 M of memory per channel, increases the amount of information that can be captured from events leading up to and after the specified trigger event.

The high-bandwidth, Agilent InfiniiMax 1130A series active probes offer single-ended and differential measurements up to 7 GHz. The design provides unmatched connectivity to full bandwidth even in the most difficult to reach situations, such as probing between memory modules on server motherboards. The flexible architecture of the Agilent 1130A probes enables the user to make either single-ended or differential measurements from a single probe amplifier, which results in a significant savings in time and money.

"Agilent understands the challenges posed by implementing the latest high-speed technologies and has been working on developing a complete line of tools that address signal integrity throughout the design process," said Ron Nersesian, vice president and general manager of Agilent's Design Validation Business. "Our new high-speed measurement system delivers unmatched 6 GHz performance for both single-ended and differential measurements on all four channels. Design engineers can perform more accurate measurements with a flexibility and ease-of-use that will make the system the tool of choice for years to come."

"Availability of high-speed measurement systems helps speed development of products utilizing the latest Intel Architecture products and I/O interconnect technologies from across the industry," said Jim Pappas, director of initiative marketing for Intel's Enterprise Platform Group. "Agilent is building on a long history of design tool expertise with this announcement."

Additional information on Agilent's new high-speed measurement system and the company's complete line of validation and debug tools is available at www.agilent.com/find/infiniimax.

U.S. Pricing and Availability

The Agilent 54854A and 54855A Infiniium oscilloscopes are expected to ship in February 2003 at the following prices:

Model	   Speed     Price
54855A 6 GHz $58,995
54854A 4 GHz $49,995

The Agilent 1130 series of InfiniiMax active single-ended and differential active probes are expected to ship in February 2003 and range in price from $3,850 to $8,550.

About Agilent Technologies

Agilent Technologies Inc. (NYSE: A) is a global technology leader in communications, electronics and life sciences. The company's 37,000 employees serve customers in more than 120 countries. Agilent had net revenue of $8.4 billion in fiscal year 2001. Information about Agilent is available on the Web at www.agilent.com.

Agilent Technologies' High-Bandwidth, Real-time Oscilloscope Measurement System

Today's high-speed digital designers face formidable measurement challenges. In some cutting-edge digital systems, clock speeds have broken the 1 GHz barrier and edge rise-times are pushing below 100 ps. Engineers are being asked to design products with unprecedented responsiveness, functionality and reliability, and they are inventing a variety of new standards to achieve this, such as PCI-Express, Serial ATA, Rapid IO, Gigabit Ethernet, Hyper-Transport, Ultra Wideband Wireless LAN, Infiniband, Fibre-Channel, AGP-8X and Double Data Rate Memory.

Many digital design teams are turning to high-bandwidth, real-time oscilloscope systems to meet their measurement requirements. The most common users of these sophisticated systems work in the computer and communications industries and for suppliers of semiconductor components. However, a growing number of design engineers in aerospace, defense and consumer electronics need multi-gigahertz oscilloscopes to accurately measure high-speed signals. In general, any digital designer who deals with clock speeds in excess of 200 MHz and sub-nanosecond rise-times will benefit from 2 to 6 GHz real-time oscilloscopes and probing systems.

Requirements for an Effective Measurement System

An oscilloscope and its probes comprise the overall measurement system for viewing high-speed digital signals. Developers of modern high-speed designs need a measurement system that satisfies two sets of crucial requirements, one involving the oscilloscope and the other involving high-speed probes. An effective oscilloscope will provide the following:

o Sufficient signal bandwidth - High-speed digital designers need an oscilloscope and probing system that can acquire and display signals with clock speeds as fast as 200 MHz to 1 GHz and rise-times of 100 ps to 1 ns. The measurements must be accurate and repeatable to maximize the design's performance and margins.

o Simultaneous real-time channels at full bandwidth - High-speed designers typically need to view the relation between three or four signals to make the measurements required to verify the functionality and margin in their designs. These measurements are often real-time (single-shot) and require sufficient sample rate to be acquired from a single trigger event.

o Sufficient time capture - Designers need a window of information that captures the events that precede and follow the specified trigger condition. The captured time window itself may represent a communication packet or a period over which jitter needs to be measured.

Effective high-speed probes will enable the following:

o Faithful signal reproduction - To prevent distortion of the measured signal, a probe must have a flat frequency response over the oscilloscope's entire bandwidth range. The probe also needs to present sufficient input impedance to the target system to avoid altering the real signal, which may cause the entire design to malfunction.

o Flexible support for a variety of real-world demands - High-speed digital designers often need to attach to signal leads that are very difficult to access (e.g. between PC boards, on a memory module socket, etc.), quickly move between desired probe points, and reliably attach to signals time after time. This often requires probing accessories, but these can't interfere with the faithful signal reproduction mentioned above.

o Measurements on both single-ended and differential signal types - Although some signals are single ended, many high-speed signals are now differential to increase speed, lower power and improve signal-to-noise ratio. Probes must support both types of measurements.

Problems with Previous Sampling Oscilloscopes

For over a decade, sampling oscilloscopes have had sufficient bandwidth to measure high-speed signals, but they are not well suited for the measurement typically required for high-speed digital design. Sampling oscilloscopes cannot capture single-shot events; they can only display a few edges or an eye diagram on repetitive signals. Sampling oscilloscopes are typically attached to 50-ohm transmission lines that are designed into the customer's system; high-fidelity active probes are not usually available. Basically, sampling scopes do not adequately meet the requirements mentioned above. On the other hand, for measurements that are beyond capabilities of real-time oscilloscopes (currently 6 GHz), sampling scopes are still required for viewing signals and are critical for testing telecommunications standards such as OC-192 and beyond.

Problems with Traditional High-bandwidth, Real-time Oscilloscopes

Recognizing the need of digital designers for faster instruments, test and measurement vendors introduced oscilloscopes with up to 6 GHz of real-time bandwidth. To date, Agilent is the only vendor that has matched this oscilloscope bandwidth with appropriate bandwidth single-ended and differential active probes. These original real-time oscilloscopes are able to meet the sufficient signal bandwidth and sufficient time capture requirements, but still have significant limitations:

o Traditional high-bandwidth, real-time scopes fail to offer flexible support for a variety of real-world demands because they do not offer the full real-time bandwidth on all four of the channels simultaneously. The maximum bandwidth and sample rate is typically available on only one or two channels, with the other two or three channels turned off and unavailable for measuring any signal.

o The active probes that are available today have a resonance within the frequency band of the oscilloscope. This in-band resonance distorts signals that have frequency components in the resonance area. The in-band resonance also loads the target system due to its low impedance. Hence, the probes fail to meet high-bandwidth, real-time measurement system requirements.

o To date, active probes can only achieve their specified bandwidth by using specialized fixtures that must be designed into the target system. It is impractical to expect engineers to know in advance everywhere they will need to make measurements, and to incorporate significant-sized probe sockets based on that knowledge. Furthermore, the accessories provided with the probes are often hard to use and can limit the overall bandwidth that can be achieved or cause additional distortion due to their inductance or capacitance.

o Traditional probing systems have been either single-ended or differential in nature, but Agilent's next-generation probing system announced on Nov. 1, 2002 offers a superior solution.

Agilent's New Oscilloscope Measurement System

The new Agilent Infiniium 54855A and 54854A oscilloscopes provide 6 GHz and 4 GHz of bandwidth respectively, and offer several benefits:

o In contrast to the traditional Gaussian profile provided in most oscilloscopes, Agilent's new scopes offer a frequency response that is a flat or "brick-wall" response. This profile enables more accurate rise-time measurements, and cuts down on sampling alias errors by attenuating more of the frequency components above the Nyquist frequency. This effectively reduces waveform wobble on the display and improves measurement repeatability.

o Both the Agilent 54855A and 54854A provide a sample rate of 20 Gs/sec on all four input channels simultaneously, twice the capability of any product previously available. The simultaneous sample rate provides better measurement accuracy, reduces the chance of signal aliasing and also enables the capture of four full-bandwidth, real-time signals off of a single trigger event.

o The Agilent 54855A and 54854A offer up to 1 M of memory per channel, which produces a time-capture window of 50 us per channel at the maximum sample rate of 20 GSa/s. This is a more-than-adequate time window for the vast majority of applications. For specialized applications that require longer time-capture windows (e.g. testing a computer power supply start-up from reset), the new scopes offer up to 32 MB of memory per channel at sample rates of 2 GSa/s and below. This produces a time-capture window of 16 ms for signals up to 500 MHz, the deepest memory available per channel at these sample rates for any oscilloscope on the market.

The Agilent InfiniiMax 1134A, 1132A and 1131A probe systems provide 7 GHz, 5 GHz and 3.5 GHz of bandwidth respectively, and offer the following benefits:

o The new probes have a flat frequency response over the entire bandwidth specification, eliminating the distortion and loading that affect probes with in-band resonance. The probing system enables engineers to utilize their oscilloscope's entire bandwidth without being limited to measuring only 50-ohm transmission lines or using passive resistive divider probes that produce voltage measurement error and circuit loading. Designers can achieve system measurement bandwidths of 4.5 to 6 GHz even when manually "browsing" with the probe. Solder-in probe heads and solder-in sockets provide even higher bandwidths. These strategies are attractive alternatives to designing specialized fixtures into the target system.

o The Agilent InfiniiMax 1130A series probe system supports a wide variety of real-world applications with an extensive line up of probe heads and accessories. The accessories can meet the most demanding mechanical access requirements. Small probe heads can be placed between densely packed PC boards. Solder-in sockets are available for signals that need frequent measurement. A smart ergonomic design allows users to set the spacing between the probe pins (variable span). When not concerned with minimum probe size, designers can use a larger browsing adapter to make long-term browsing more comfortable. Both probe tips of the differential probe can "flex" to support various probing angles and target system characteristics (z-axis compliance). Innovative damped-wire accessories compensate for the inductance and capacitance associated with the leads, and prevent distortion of the measured signal. Although damped-wire accessories may lower the overall measurement bandwidth, they act as well-behaved low pass signal filters without introducing any significant distortion. Engineers can use these damped-wire configurations to probe circuit points that are farther apart than the full bandwidth configurations.

o The groundbreaking design of Agilent InfiniiMax 1130A probe system also enables users to make either single-ended or differential measurements from a single probe amplifier, depending on their choice of probe head and accessory. This can result in significant savings in cost and time. The common mode rejection of the differential probe head reduces a measurement's noise floor. In contrast to single-ended counterparts, differential probes balance the input parasitics of the accessories attached to the probe head and deliver superior bandwidth performance. Overall, the Agilent 1130 series probing system delivers unrivaled performance and real-world usability.

In summary, Agilent's innovative Infiniium 54850 series of high-bandwidth, real-time oscilloscopes and its InfiniiMax 1130 series probes are the fastest measurement systems available for high-speed digital design, and represent a new industry standard for accuracy, flexibility and reliability.

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