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Six Reasons to Upgrade Your Waveform Generator

2021-08-28  |  7 min read 

As a designer or an engineer, you probably know the significant role the waveform generator plays in testing and repairing electronic devices.
A waveform generator is a piece of electronic test equipment used to produce electrical signals and analyze the performance of hardware devices by varying the frequencies of different waveforms.

Advances in software, microprocessors, and display technology have expanded the capabilities of modern waveform generators. The latest models can produce various signals, including common waveforms, arbitrary waveforms, and sophisticated modulated waveforms.
With the retirement of Keysight’s 33210A function / arbitrary waveform generators, the EDU33210A Series Trueform waveform generators continue Keysight’s offering of uncompromising performance. With exclusive Trueform signal-generation technology, the EDU33210A Series offers more capability, fidelity, and flexibility than traditional direct digital synthesis (DDS) generators

EDU33210 Photo

Trueform Technology

Keysight’s Trueform technology offers greater waveform integrity than the DDS architecture used in 33210A. These advantages include significantly lower waveform jitter for less test uncertainty and a true representation of the selected waveform, not an approximation.
Signals this clean dramatically increase the precision of edge-to-edge timing to improve the testing of applications that require precise clock timing or triggering and many types of communication signals. The high-fidelity signals Trueform technology creates dramatically improve the replication of arbitrary waveforms by eliminating point skipping and duplication problems that can appear in DDS generators.

Why You Should Upgrade Your Waveform Generator

Here are six reasons you should consider upgrading your waveform generator.

Reason 1: Low jitter improves signal integrity 

Designers and engineers need to test the limits of their designs to ensure that their products achieve maximum performance. Therefore, they must generate a high-quality, clean, stable, and reliable signal. The lower the jitter, the more stable the signal.
A low jitter source lets engineers generate the exact signals they need. Better jitter performance allows engineers to place edges more accurately, reducing timing errors in their circuit designs. Low jitter enables users to get a more accurate result, improve signal quality, and better characterize a product.
EDU33210A Series Trueform function / arbitrary waveform generators with jitter as low as 100 ps provide exceptional edge stability. You can even use them as a system clock for timing and triggering your other instruments. With better jitter performance, you can place edges more accurately, reducing timing errors in your circuit design.

Reason 2: The waveform you create is the waveform you get

DDS uses a fixed clock and a phase accumulator, so it cannot guarantee that every point or feature in a waveform will be played. The higher the frequency, the more gaps in the output waveform compared to the ideal waveform. Trueform, on the other hand, plays every waveform point regardless of the set frequency or sample rate. This becomes important when dealing with a waveform that has small detail that is critical to the test you are performing. 
Trueform function / arbitrary waveform generators use a technology that plays every point in your signal exactly as you designed it. To test the robustness of your design, you can create a specific signal with noise, overshoots, spikes, and dropouts just where you need them. 

Reason 3: Modulation and built-in waveforms

The EDU33210 Series function / arbitrary waveform generators have 17 built-in arbitrary waveforms. They come with common waveforms: sine, square, ramp, triangle, pulse, PRBS, DC, and Gaussian noise. They also have specialty waveforms such as cardiac, exponential fall, exponential rise, Gaussian pulse, haversine, Lorentz, D-Lorentz, negative ramp, and sinc. The built-in modulations are AM, FM, phase modulation, frequency-shift keying, binary phase-shift keying, and pulse width modulation.

Reason 4: Arbitrary waveform with deep memory

Are you looking to test your design with long, complex waveforms with a variety of anomalies? The EDU33210 Series function / arbitrary waveform generators come standard with up to 8 million samples per channel deep memory at a maximum of 1 million samples per waveform, providing sufficient memory to overcome your test challenges.

Reason 5: Easy control and simplified automation with PathWave BenchVue software

Keysight PathWave BenchVue software eliminates many of the challenges around bench testing. By making it simple to connect, control instruments, and automate test sequences, you can quickly move past the test development phase and access results faster than ever before with just a few clicks.
PathWave BenchVue supports hundreds of Keysight instrument types and models, all from one easy-to-use application.

Reason 6: Seamless and secure connection with PathWave Lab Operations software

Manage and remotely control your workbench with Keysight’s PathWave Lab Operations for Remote Learning software. This software solution will help you seamlessly and securely connect to your lab workbench through the cloud to control your instruments in real time, make measurements, and perform test analyses with your peers. Adding a function generator to control all the connections between your test instruments and devices under test enables you to perform more extensive test coverage remotely, from across the room or around the world.


Keysight’s next generation of waveform generators with the new EDU33210A Series offer signal fidelity that exceeds that of older generators. 
For those looking for more bandwidth or signal flexibility, the new EDU33210A and the Trueform 33500B / 33600A Series generators offer higher-bandwidth options and a second channel. 

Learn more about the EDU33210A Series waveform generators
For out more about the 33500B and 33600A Series Trueform waveform generators