Scope, spectrum-analyzer combination provides time-correlated signals

Colin Holland, EETimes -September 08, 2011

To address its belief that more than 60% of oscilloscope users also use a spectrum analyzer to troubleshoot embedded- system designs with integrated wireless functionality, Tektronix Inc has developed the MDO (mixed-domain oscilloscope). The MDO4000 enables work in both the time and the frequency domain to capture time-correlated analog, digital, and RF signals for a complete system view.

With the MDO4000, the RF-input frequency range extends to 6 GHz and provides a capture bandwidth of ≥1 GHz at all center frequencies, 100 times wider than that of typical spectrum analyzers. Users can see up to four decoded serial buses, parallel buses, or both at one time on the same display. The time correlation between domains enables accurate timing measurements for understanding delays and latencies between command and control events in a design and changes in the RF spectrum.

Scope, spectrum-analyzer combination provides time-correlated signals imageThe MDO4000 also allows designers to view the RF spectrum of a signal at any time within a long acquisition to see how the spectrum changes over time or with device state. RF time-domain traces show how the amplitude, frequency, or phase of the RF input signal changes relative to time, which eases the characterization of frequency-hop transitions, settling times, and RF event timing relative to other system components and activities.

In addition to the standard RF power-level trigger, an optional module, MDO4TRIG, allows additional trigger types to use the RF power level as a source, enabling customers to further isolate an RF event of interest. Users can trigger on a specific pulse width, look for a time-out event or runt, or even include the RF input in a logic pattern defined along with the analog and digital channels.

“It fundamentally changes what’s involved in debugging designs with RF where there is a need to correlate events in the frequency domain with the time-domain phenomena that caused them,” says Roy Siegel, general manager, oscilloscopes, at Tektronix. “Just as the MSO [mixed-signal oscilloscope] is the standard for embedded-design test, we expect the MDO will become the new standard for designs that increasingly include RF capabilities.”

The MDO4000 enables debugging integration of common wireless modules below 6 GHz—WLAN, Bluetooth, and Zigbee, for example; debugging of common “homegrown” amplitude-, frequency-, or phase-modulated wireless communications; and wideband analysis of dual-band transceivers. US suggested list prices start at $19,900.

Tektronix

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