April 1, 2012

A Signal Generator for Highest Data Rates

A new device engineered by Fraunhofer HHI for the generation of arbitrary signal shapes and signal strings will simplify the development of next generation high-speed communication networks.

This free programmable device allows users swiftly and easily to generate any number of optical signal shapes and streams, and for testing and analysing them as needed in a realistic environment.

The Arbitrary Waveform Generator – or AWG for short – eliminates the need for experimental set-ups which are generally complicated and expensive to build. The results serve as the basis for the development of new devices or in measuring systems deliver statements about the behavior of objects under measurement.

The new AWG is based on the fastest market version of a digital to analog converter which coupled with an intelligent data feed system can generate any form of signal. The signals generated are digitally composed of up to 34 billion individual samples per second to yield an analog signal. Such high speed conversion demonstrates one of HHI's core competencies – its proven expertise in handling ultra-high-speed data rates.

Application in the field of big data

Particularly when it comes to huge amounts of data – like big data for instance – what is called for are solutions for the distribution and processing of data sets on the order of terabytes and petabytes with the maximum data rate currently available. Existing fiber optical networks need to make better use of their transmission capacities, for instance through efficient modulation of the optical signal, if we are to cope with the ever bigger data streams the future will bring.

In a low-cost trial, the AWG can generate individual signals tailored to the needs of the user to test optimization of optical data transmission. For instance in a trial set-up with the AWG, signal distortion of the sort occurring in long-distance fiber optical links can easily be offset by the appropriate level of pre-distortion. This saves companies a lot of money and valuable development time.

What's more, the synchronized operation of several AWGs even enables the rapid testing of complex transmission techniques like those using enhanced modulation techniques based on multiple source signals.

A development and service platform for commercial usage

Unlike with other devices, users of AWG can not only generate signals but also implement their own algorithms – like algorithms for adapting the signal to particular conditions in the transmission route.

The device will appeal to development companies, universities and enterprises doing research and development in the fields of fiber optical transmission technology, radio engineering or measuring procedures who do not wish to embark on the expensive and extremely arduous and time-consuming development of their own platforms for hardware design and testing. The AWG has already been successfully used in the labs of such famous global players as Fujitsu Laboratories, Cisco and IDPhotonics.