Arbitrary waveforms

Agilent Technologies has introduced the industry’s first wideband arbitrary waveform generator (AWG) to deliver 1.25 GSa/sec and 15 bits of vertical resolution simultaneously.

With Agilent’s N6030A arbitrary waveform generator, digital signal processing (DSP) and system engineers can rapidly create realistic wideband signals for the design and test of advanced radar, satellite and emerging communication systems.

Wide bandwidth and high resolution are key performance requirements for most aerospace/defence systems. Wideband AWG’s are commonly used to test receiver and transmitter chains by simulating complex real-world scenarios, such as multiple radar echo returns cluttered by ground objects, rain, clouds and sea reflections.

The AWG must accurately produce these signals to correctly test the radar receiver’s processing chain. Similarly, the wideband AWG must produce clean, baseband signals to help evaluate the radar transmitter’s up-conversion blocks.

Likewise, emerging wireless communication formats and satellite systems require high-bandwidth signal simulations to evaluate distortions inherent in a receiver chain. Wideband AWGs are used not only to generate the ideal signal, but to add impairments that affect the system’s bit error rate (BER).

“Until now, commercial AWGs offered either wide bandwidth or wide dynamic range,” said Pat Byrne, vice president and general manager of Agilent’s RF and Microwave Communications Business Unit. “The N6030A offers both simultaneously, eliminating performance tradeoffs.”

The Agilent N6030A provides dual differential output channels to drive both single-ended and balanced designs. Each independent channel gives designers access to 500 MHz of instantaneous analog bandwidth and more than 65 dBc of spurious free dynamic range.

Combining the N6030A with Agilent’s PSG vector signal generator gives designers 1 GHz IQ bandwidth for simulating IF and RF subsystem tests at microwave frequencies.

The Agilent N6030A has 8 MSa or 16 MSa optional waveform memory for storage of arbitrary and complex waveforms. Additionally, the advanced sequencing engine extends the effective size of the on-board memory.

With its four-slot 3U CompactPCI format, the Agilent N6030A can be used as a standalone AWG or as a scalable system component for generating complex phase-coherent, multi-emitter scenarios. A single module can drive eight total modules to create synchronous operation on a sample-by-sample basis. Multiple programmatic interfaces are included to speed waveform development and system integration, including MATLAB, LabView, IVI-C and Microsoft .NET framework.

The Agilent N6030A includes a complete software suite with a graphical user interface that aids developers in waveform file creation, transfer and control of all module settings.