It is the first time-domain-analysis-based coherent detection system and provides highest flexibility and in-depth analysis of amplitude and phase modulated optical signals in a turn-key solution, enabling scientists and engineers to rapidly test their ideas.

Since the broad deployment of the Internet, service providers have seen a continuous increase in demand for transmission capability. This is driving the transmission rates of 10 Gb/s toward 40 Gb/s and 100 Gb/s in the next few years.

The challenge put to the optical industry is how to fit a transmission rate of 100 Gb/s into the legacy 50 GHz ITU-T channel grids. The only way to conquer the 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. 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 manufacture a new optical transmitters and receivers it is necessary to analyze amplitude and phase behavior of these signals in two orthogonal polarization states. Currently available test instruments are only capable of analyzing the amplitude of the optical signal, leaving a gap in the test instrument market. The N4391A optical modulation analyzer closes this gap by providing 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.