Keysight Technologies Introduces PAM-4 Analysis Software for Oscilloscope Platforms


New Software Provides Automated PAM-4 Pre-Compliance Testing, Report Generation


  • Automates testing of PAM-4 measurements outlined in IEEE 400G Ethernet (P802.3bs) and OIF-CEI-56G-PAM4
  • Operates on real-time and equivalent-time (sampling) oscilloscopes
  • Generates comprehensive pass/fail reports in minutes

SANTA ROSA, Calif., Dec. 16, 2015

Keysight Technologies, Inc. (NYSE: KEYS) today introduced measurement application software designed to help engineers quickly and accurately measure and quantify PAM-4 (pulse amplitude modulation with four amplitude levels) signals. The software is used with the Keysight S-Series, 90000A, V-Series, 90000 X- and Z-Series real-time oscilloscope platforms and the 86100D DCA-X Infiniium sampling oscilloscope. The new Keysight N8836A PAM-4 analysis software (for S-Series, 90000A, V-Series, 90000 X- and Z-Series oscilloscopes) and the new N1085A PAM-4 analysis software (for 86100D oscilloscopes) provide comprehensive characterization of electrical PAM-4 signals based on the Optical Internetworking Forum's Common Electrical Interface (OIF-CEI 4.0) proposed 56G interfaces, and the emerging IEEE 400 Gigabit Ethernet (P802.3bs) standard.

Mobile computing applications are demanding more of the underlying computer Internet infrastructure. To enable increases in Internet and server-farm performance, higher-speed connectivity among server systems is required. Conventional communication techniques often relied upon NRZ (non-return-to-zero) encoding, but excessive channel losses and crosstalk on 56 Gb/s NRZ links make this technology impractical for many applications. One way to overcome this challenge is to change the modulation technique from NRZ to pulse amplitude modulation. This allows engineers to dramatically increase the amount of data they can send across high-speed digital communication links. However, there is not yet consensus within the governing bodies of communication standards as to how to measure PAM-4 signals for compliance.

"Our customers face new design and measurement challenges as they work to ensure their products are compliant with specifications that are incorporating PAM-4 signaling," said Dave Cipriani, vice president and general manager of Keysight's Oscilloscope and Protocol Division. "We're working with industry leaders and standards organizations in these very early stages to help customers address these challenges and get to market quicker."

The N8836A and N1085A PAM-4 measurement applications for S-Series, 90000A, V-Series, 90000 X- and Z-Series real-time oscilloscopes and 86100D DCA-X Series sampling oscilloscopes deliver measurements such as:

  • Linearity and output voltage measurements including level separation mismatch ratio (RLM)
  • Eye width (EW) and eye height (EH)
  • Jitter measurements including even-odd jitter and clock random jitter
  • Differential and common mode return losses – performed using a Keysight time domain reflectometer (TDR) or vector network analyzer (VNA)

Multi-level signaling systems are particularly susceptible to noise, so Keysight's V-Series, Z-Series and S-Series offer the industry's lowest noise floors for wide-bandwidth, real-time oscilloscopes. For example, when using the 63 GHz Z-Series oscilloscope, designers can achieve accurate analysis of electrical PAM-4 signals to 32 GBaud and beyond. Additionally, engineers can perform offline analysis on stored PAM-4 signals using the N8900A Infiniium Offline oscilloscope analysis software installed on a PC.

The 86100D DCA-X combines low-noise, high-bandwidth receivers with an acquisition system that is particularly well suited for accurate characterization of PAM signals. The N1085A's measurement capabilities are supported by a variety of DCA plug-in modules such as the 86108B 50-GHz precision waveform analyzer module, the N1045A 60-GHz module, or the N1055A 50-GHz TDR/TDT module. Engineers can use the N1045A and N1055A modules to analyze up to 16 PAM-4 channels simultaneously.

Additional information about Keysight's PAM-4 analysis software is available at and Product images are available at

U.S. Pricing and Availability

The N8836A and N1085A software applications will be orderable on Dec. 3. Each application is priced at $2,500.

About Keysight in Software

Keysight software is downloadable design, test and measurement expertise. From first simulation through first customer shipment, Keysight software tools enable engineering teams to accelerate from data to information to actionable insight. Additional information is available at Download free software trials at

About Keysight in Digital Test

Keysight's solutions for digital applications are driven and supported by Keysight experts who are involved in various international standards committees. Keysight experts are active in the Joint Electronic Devices Engineering Council (JEDEC), PCI Special Interest Group (PCI-SIG®), Video Electronics Standards Association (VESA), Serial ATA International Organization (SATA-IO), USB Implementers Forum (USB-IF), Mobile Industry Processor Interface (MIPI™) Alliance, Ethernet standards (IEEE 802.3), Optical Internetworking Forum (OIF) and many others. Keysight is committed to involvement in standards groups and related workshops, plugfests and seminars to ensure the right test solutions are created to meet customers' evolving needs.

About Keysight Technologies

Keysight Technologies (NYSE:KEYS) is a global electronic measurement technology and market leader helping to transform its customers' measurement experience through innovations in wireless, modular, and software solutions. Keysight's electronic measurement instruments, systems, software and services are used in the design, development, manufacture, installation, deployment and operation of electronic equipment. The business had revenues of $2.9 billion in fiscal year 2015. Information about Keysight is available at

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Janet Smith, Americas
+1 970 679 5397
Twitter: @KeysightJSmith

Sarah Calnan, Europe
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