Agilent targets high-speed network development with "industry first" analysis tool

March 16, 2009--Agilent Technologies has introduced what it calls the first time-domain based optical modulation analyzer offering in-depth analysis of amplitude- and phase-modulated optical signals. The optical test instrument aims to help scientists and engineers to test their ideas quickly. It can be ordered starting in April 2009; shipments will begin September 2009.

March 16, 2009--Agilent Technologies Inc. (Santa Clara, CA) has introduced what it calls the first time-domain based optical modulation analyzer offering in-depth analysis of amplitude- and phase-modulated optical signals, the N4391A. The optical test instrument was developed in close cooperation with Agilent Laboratories, the company's central research arm. It is based on wide-bandwidth, polarization-diverse coherent optical receiver technology, Agilent's 89600 vector signal analysis software (VSA), and the company's high-speed real-time data acquisition unit, the Infiniium Series 90000 oscilloscope. The system aims to help scientists and engineers to test their ideas quickly.

The N4391A was designed to assist the optical industry in its efforts to fit a transmission rate of 100 Gbps into the legacy 50 GHz ITU-T channel grid. The only way to overcome this challenge is to leverage complex modulation techniques from the wireless and RF microwave world, which solved this problem at lower data rates two decades ago, Agilent says. The solution is to take advantage of the significant dense packaging of information afforded with advanced optical modulation schemes, reducing the necessary transceiver bandwidth.

"This is exactly the kind of test instrument that fills the gap for the optical industry, as engineers can now gain deep insight into the behavior of transmitters and links operating with advanced optical modulation schemes," said Niall Robinson, vice president of product marketing at Mintera Corp.

The advanced optical modulation schemes carry information in amplitude, phase and polarization. To develop new optical transmitters and receivers it is necessary to analyze amplitude and phase behavior of these signals in two orthogonal polarization states.

Agilent notes that current test instruments are capable of analyzing only the amplitude of the optical signal, leaving a gap in the test instrument market--and that the N4391A optical modulation analyzer closes this gap. The system accomplishes this by offering new analysis tools such as constellation plane display of the demodulated signal and error vector magnitude analysis displaying the error compared to an ideal signal.

"Our optical modulation analyzer provides a highly flexible turn-key solution as a reference system for developing transmission systems based on advanced modulation schemes," said Juergen Beck, general manager of Agilent's Digital Photonic Test business. "This instrument will be the workhorse for scientists, development engineers, and quality engineers of transmission system and component suppliers, thus supporting the development of next-generation high-speed optical networks."
Features of the Agilent N4391A optical modulation analyzer include:

+ optical coherent receiver supporting >100G transmission rates;
+ full support of DPSK/DQPSK, including Polarization Multiplexing;
+ optical receiver bandwidth >37 GHz (74 GHz optical);
+ choice of 34 digital modulation formats; and
+ choice of 20 customizable data-analysis tools.

Agilent will unveil the N4391A at OFC/NFOEC 2009 (March 23-26, San Diego, CA), booth 1719. It can be ordered starting in April 2009; shipments will begin September 2009. Pricing starts at $195,000.

Find out more information on Agilent's N4391A optical modulation analyzer at the Agilent site.

Posted by Barbara G. Goode, barbarag@pennwell.com, for Laser Focus World.

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