Agilent unveils M8000 Series of BER test instruments

The test and measurement business of Agilent Technologies Inc. (NYSE: A), which will officially spin out as a separate company this November under the name Keysight Technologies, Inc., has launched the M8000 Series of bit error rate (BER) test instruments. Designed to supplant Agilent’s current single-channel instruments such as the N4903A as well as multichannel units such as the ParBERT, the M8000 Series will accommodate demands for greater speeds, more integration and flexibility, and significantly faster test times, Agilent sources told Lightwave during a recent visit.

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The test and measurement business of Agilent Technologies Inc. (NYSE: A), which will officially spin out as a separate company this November under the name Keysight Technologies, Inc., has launched the M8000 Series of bit error rate (BER) test instruments. Designed to supplant Agilent’s current single-channel instruments such as the N4903A as well as multichannel units such as the ParBERT, the M8000 Series will accommodate demands for greater speeds, more integration and flexibility, and significantly faster test times, Agilent sources told Lightwave during a recent visit. With instruments such as the M8000 Series, Agilent hopes to expand beyond its current strength in digital test to be a more significant player in cloud and data center equipment test applications, said Michael Reser, sales and business development manager within the Digital & Photonic Test Division of Agilent’s Electronic Measurement Group. This will include accommodating new and developing interface speeds, such as 56-Gbps and PAM4, via the instruments within the M8000 Series. Reser said that key attributes of the series will include:
  • Higher levels of integration
  • Expandability to accommodate increasing data rates
  • Stress calibration at the test point and de-embedding
  • Analyzer equalization
  • Interactive link training.

First out of the shoot is the M8020A, which (depending upon how it’s configured) will assist with receiver characterization of both single- and multilane devices. It supports one to four BERT channels with data rates of up to 8.5 Gbps and 16 Gbps with an extension to 32 Gbps. The integration of capabilities that formerly required separate boxes significantly simplifies and reduces the cost of such tests, Reser said. For example, the BERT set can support integrated jitter measurement, eight-tap de-emphasis, reference clock multipliers, DMI and CMI sources (simultaneously), and CDR and analyzer equalization. Meanwhile, the in situ calibration feature helps ensure accurate and repeatable measurements, while the interactive link training capability aids with loopback mode requirements and negotiate speed and de-emphasis interactively. This last capability is currently available for PCIe applications, but the company plans to expand the realm of applications in the future, Reser said.

Agilent also offer several test instruments that complement the M802A. They include the M8048A interference channels, N5990A test automation software, the M8061A multiplexer 2:1 with de-emphasis, the N4877A 32-Gbps clock data recovery with demultiplexer, and the 86100D Infiniium DCA-X high-bandwidth oscilloscope.

The J-BERT M8020A is currently available. Prices start at $122,200 for a one-channel 16-Gbps BERT with built-in clock recovery.

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

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