SmarTest debuts with 14.5-Gbps programmable pattern generators and bit error rate testers

Test and measurement startup SmarTest used the recent OFC 2014 event in San Francisco to unveil its first products. The company introduced single-channel and four-channel 14.5-Gbps programmable pattern generators and programmable bit error rate testers (BERTs).

20131031 5571a No 16g 300x166

20131031 5571a No 16g 300x166Test and measurement startup SmarTest used the recent OFC 2014 event in San Francisco to unveil its first products. The company introduced single-channel and four-channel 14.5-Gbps programmable pattern generators and programmable bit error rate testers (BERTs).

The privately owned company was incorporated in 2011, with headquarters in Santa Clara, CA. Speaking at OFC, General Manager Federico Lipparini said the company’s main focus is on developing test instruments for the manufacturing and production environment – which means they combine low cost and small size with high performance. For example, Lipparini asserted that the sale price of SmarTest’s instruments were roughly equivalent to the bill of materials of his competitors’ test equipment.

The first products to carry the SmarTest brand include:

  • the PG1601 single-channel 14.5-Gbps programmable pattern generator, with prices starting at $34,990
  • the PG1604 four-channel 14.5-Gbps programmable pattern generator, with prices starting at $75,990
  • the SB1601 single-channel 14.5-Gbps BERT, with prices starting at $45,490
  • the SB1604 four-channel 14.5-Gbps BERT, with prices starting at $95,990.

The pattern generators operate from 1.25 to 14.5 Gbps and feature an internal low-jitter, full-rate clock synthesizer and built-in programmable clock divider. They support the generation of PRBS and 20-bit user-programmable patterns.

The BERTs also operate from 1.25 to 14.5 Gbps and feature an internal full-rate clock synthesizer and built-in programmable clock divider, with the capability to support PRBS and 20-bit user-programmable patterns. They also have an integrated clock-data recovery (CDR) system that can derive a clock typically within 10 µs, according to a SmarTest brochure. The pattern generators within the BERT feature rise/fall times (20%-80%) of less than 15 ps and intrinsic jitter (RMS) of less than 1 ps typical. The BERTs weigh 3.3 lbs.

While the instruments are described as 14.5-Gbps platforms, they should accommodate 16-Gbps requirements as well, Lipparini and the company’s literature suggest. The company has its eyes on higher-speed applications as well, with 32-Gbps instruments on the near-term road map, Lipparini revealed.

All of the small, benchtop instruments feature USB control and are simple to set up, the company says. A proprietary expansion bus for synchronization and control of multiple units via a single remote PC controller enables higher channel-count test system configurations. All four of the systems are currently available.

For more information on test equipment and suppliers, visit the Lightwave Buyer’s Guide.

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