April 21, 2012

LeCroy Announces 8 and 12-port SPARQ Models for Signal Integrity Network Analysis

LeCroy Corporation, a leading supplier of oscilloscopes, serial data test solutions and network analyzers, announced the availability of 8 and 12-port models of the SPARQ series of signal integrity network analyzers. The SPARQ makes S-parameter measurements quickly and is a fraction of the price of a Vector Network Analyzer (VNA). With the 8 and 12-port SPARQ models, signal integrity engineers finally have the product they need to characterize crosstalk in multi-lane differential structures.

The market is rapidly adopting high speed multi-lane serial data signaling, creating new technical challenges for design engineers. Traditional network analyzers are prohibitively expensive and time-consuming to use for 8- and 12-port S-parameter measurements. More suitable and affordable tools are needed. The new SPARQ models are priced at a fraction of the cost of less capable VNAs. For example, the 12-port SPARQ is priced similarly to a 4-port VNA. All SPARQ models utilize a built-in OSLT calibration kit to allow users to rapidly calibrate the analyzer and measure the device under test, without using error-prone calibration standards that are external to the instrument. This means that a user can complete a full 12-port S-parameter measurement in approximately 30 minutes with much of that time being unattended acquisition and calculation time.

Crosstalk Challenges in Multi-Lane Serial Data Systems Require 12-port S-parameters
Cloud computing, mobile computing, smartphones and streaming video applications are pushing the marketplace to deliver greater and greater network bandwidth. To meet this need, both today and tomorrow's communication standards utilize multi-lane differential signaling to carry traffic at ever-increasing bitrates. Multi-lane differential signaling has become pervasive, and is used in standards such as PCIe Gen3, Serial Rapid IO, InfiniBand, and 40/100 GBASE Ethernet. More than ever, signal integrity issues due to crosstalk and channel effects such as intersymbol interference lead to closed eyes and jitter. Signal integrity engineers find that they must attempt to both predict and understand these issues when designing multi-lane differential circuits and interconnects to avoid design modifications and costly re-spins.

When using a network analyzer with only 4 ports, signal integrity engineers can measure the S-parameters of only a single differential lane. While useful, these measurements only provide a partial understanding of circuit behavior, and do not characterize the crosstalk between lanes. With the SPARQ-3012E, users can measure the complete 12-port S-parameter matrix in both single-ended and mixed-mode representations, at the click of a button. The resulting S-parameters characterize the near-end (NEXT) and far-end (FEXT) crosstalk between up to three differential lanes, and which can then be used in aggressor-victim-aggressor modeling in order both to predict circuit performance and to study transmitter and receiver equalization schemes that may be required to open closed eyes. The new SPARQ models are rated to 30GHz end frequency, and can return S-parameter results out to 40 GHz. This makes the SPARQ suitable for crosstalk measurements on a wide variety of commonly deployed high speed multi-lane serial data standards.

SPARQ: S-parameters Quick
The 8 and 12-port SPARQ units are extensions to the SPARQ series of Signal Integrity Network Analyzers launched in September, 2010. SPARQ is designed specifically for signal integrity applications, and uses state-of-the-art TDR/TDT techniques to measure the S-parameters of passive devices. SPARQ users connect the SPARQ to their DUT and to their PC, which runs the SPARQ application. After configuring the measurement by setting the number of ports, points and end frequency, the measurement is started by simply clicking "Go". The SPARQ automatically calibrates in only about 1 minute using the built-in OSLT calibration kit, and then measures the DUT without any need to disconnect/reconnect between the calibration and DUT measurement steps. By performing the calibration automatically, users avoid the tedious and error-prone steps involved with calibrating a VNA. With a 12-port SPARQ, a complete measurement, including calibration, can be made in about 30 minutes. "Preview mode" 12-port results can be obtained in less than 10 minutes. Results can be saved to a standard Touchstone 1.0 file, which can be imported into other simulators or instruments like LeCroy oscilloscopes, such as WaveMaster and LabMaster oscilloscopes with bandwidths up to 60 GHz with up to 20 input channels. Users can emulate channel effects or de-embed structures using measured or modeled S-parameters, and measure eye diagrams, jitter and crosstalk on multiple serial data lanes.

SPARQ – Simplicity in Design
SPARQ analyzers are designed to be easy to purchase and easy to use. They are small, rugged and portable, and designed to be used by any engineer; SPARQ users do not require the high level of expertise needed to calibrate and use a VNA. All required items to use a SPARQ are standard with the unit, including 40 GHz high phase-stable cables. This is in contrast to the VNA; a 12-port VNA is typically a 2 or 4-port unit built-up with additional test sets and interconnects, becoming a system with higher complexity, cost, and upkeep. VNAs, especially 8- and 12-port versions, lack the simplicity of the SPARQ design.

SPARQ Models and Prices
The new models, SPARQ-3012E (12-port, $149,990 USD) and the SPARQ-3008E (8-port $99,990 USD) are available for sale, allow six to eight weeks for delivery. Four-port and 2-port models are also available. Models and prices are: SPARQ-4004E: 4-port, Internal Calibration, $55,069 USD; SPARQ-4002E: 2-port, Internal Calibration, $41,299 USD; SPARQ-4002M: 2-port, manual calibration, $27,529 USD.

About LeCroy
LeCroy Corporation is a worldwide leader in serial data test solutions, creating advanced instruments that drive product innovation by quickly measuring, analyzing, and verifying complex electronic signals. The Company offers high-performance oscilloscopes, serial data analyzers, and global communications protocol test solutions used by design engineers in the computer and semiconductor, data storage device, automotive and industrial, and military and aerospace markets. LeCroy's 48-year heritage of technical innovation is the foundation for its recognized leadership in ”WaveShape Analysis”- capturing, viewing, and measuring the high-speed signals that drive today’s information and communications technologies. LeCroy is headquartered in Chestnut Ridge, New York. Company information is available at http://www.lecroy.com.