N6030A Arbitrary Waveform Generator

N6030A Arbitrary Waveform Generator
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The N6030A arbitrary waveform generator (AWG) is capable of creating high-resolution waveforms for radar, satellite, and frequency agile communication systems. Each channel of the N6030A operates at 1.25 GS/s and features 15 bits of vertical resolution giving designers the most realistic, wideband waveforms available from a commercial AWG.

  • 1.25 GS/s and 15 bits of vertical resolution per channel provides exceptionally realistic wideband waveforms
  • Dual output channels drive both single-ended and balanced designs without the need for baluns or hybrids
  • Extended waveform memory and advanced sequencing engine offers long scenario simulations
  • Multiple module synchronization provides multi-emitter simulations
  • Multiple programmatic interfaces enable easy integration into existing test environments

The N6030A is a 4 slot 3U CompactPCI module that offers dual differential output channels to drive both single-ended and balanced designs. The AWG also supports advanced sequencing and triggering modes to create event-based signal simulations. Multiple N6030A modules can be synchronized for the generation of phase-coherent, multi-emitter scenarios. Waveform development tasks are simplified using the AWG’s numerous programmatic interfaces including complete instrument control from the MATLAB® command line. When the N6030A is combined with a wideband I/Q upconverter, modulation bandwidths of 1 GHz can be realized at microwave frequencies for authentic signal simulations for IF and RF subsystem test.


Create long scenario simulations

Multiply the effective size of onboard memory through the use of the N6030A’s advanced sequencing engine. Uniquely define how waveform segments are played through looping and nesting of stored waveforms. This capability also gives users the ability to create new signals from existing waveforms by playing only subsegments of waveform memory. For users developing a large number of waveform scenarios the CompactPCI.


System scalability

Create phase-coherent, multi-emitter simulations using the N6030A’s precision SYNC clock. A single N6030A can drive a total of eight AWG modules to synchronize their outputs on a sample-by-sample basis. Any number of modules can be synchronized with simple driver hardware. The AWG also includes multiple front-panel triggers and markers for complete system synchronization.


The N6030A’s graphical user interface guides developers through module setup and waveform file transfers. Users can quickly configure the instrument’s signal conditioning paths, marker and trigger lines, sample and reference clock sources, and simple sequencing functions. More sophisticated sequencing functions are available through the instrument’s numerous programmatic interfaces. The N6030A supports interfaces for MATLAB®, LabView, IVI-C, and VEE frameworks.




Two independent channels available as baseband or IF outputs:

  • CH1: Single-ended and differential
  • CH2: Single-ended and differential


Modulation bandwidth

500 MHz per channel (1 GHz I/Q bandwidth)



15 bits (1/32,768 levels)

Output spectral purity— (CH1 and CH2)
  • Harmonic distortion: ≤ -65 dBc for each channel DC to 500 MHz
  • Non-harmonic spurious: ≤ -75 dBc for each channel 1 kHz to 500 MHz
  • Noise floor: ≤ -150 dBc/Hz across the channel bandwidth


Sample clock Internal

Fixed 1.25 GS/s Internal clock output +3 dBm nominal External clock input Tunable 100 MS/s to 1.25 GS/s External clock input drive level +5 to –15 dBm typical Phase noise characteristics: 1 kHz: -95 dBc/Hz 10 kHz: -115 dBc/Hz 100 kHz: -138 dBc/Hz 1 MHz: -150 dBc/Hz Noise Floor -150 dBc/Hz Accuracy Same as 10 MHz timebase input

Frequency reference Input drive level

+2 to +12 dBm into 50 ohms (+2 dBm nominal)

Waveform length

8 MS per channel (16 MS with Option 016) Minimum waveform length 128 samples Waveform granularity 8 samples


1 to 32 k unique segments can be defined consisting of waveform start and stop address, repetitions, and marker enable flags.

Segment loops

A total of 1 million (220) loops can be defined for each segment. Loops can be configured to advance in one of three modes:

  • Single The segment loop plays once and waits at the end of the loop for a trigger.
  • Continuous Segment loop is repeated continuously until a trigger is received.
  • Auto Automatically advances to the next segment after completing the specified number of loop repetitions.
  • Repeat The waveform loop repeats until the number of waveform loop repetitions is met.
Up to 32 k total unique waveform sequences can be defined. A sequence is a contiguous series of waveform segments.
Advanced sequencing
Enables users to build and playback scenarios, which are comprised of one or more sequences.

1 to 16 k pointers can be assigned to play pre-defined sequences. Sequence play begins with the first sequence entry and continues uninterrupted until the last entry is played. The table repeats until stopped.

Sequence jump modes
Sequence jumps determine how a sequence responds to a jump trigger. There are no discontinuities in a sequence jump other than those imposed by the waveform data.
Three modes are available to control sequence jumps:
  • Jump immediate: Jumps immediately to the next specified sequence address with a fixed latency.
  • End of segment: The current segment (including waveform repeats) is completed before jumping to a new sequence.
  • End of sequence: The current sequence is completed before jumping to a new sequence. Jump latency is the longer of either the jump immediate latency or the length of the remaining sequence.
  • Dynamic Sequencing (Option 300) Input: 20-pin mini-D connector
Number of inputs Markers can be defined for each
8 each (4 SMB female front-panel connectors plus four software triggers over the PCI backplane from host processor) waveform segment.
Trigger polarity Negative/positive Number of outputs 4 each SMB female
Trigger impedance 2 k ohms Marker polarity Negative, positive
Maximum input level ±4.5 volts Output impedance 50 ohms
Input sensitivity 250 mV Marker low level 100 mV nominal into high impedance
Trigger threshold -4.3 volts to +4.3 volts load
Trigger timing resolution Clock/8 (6.4 ns at full rate) Marker high level
Trigger latency 34 * Clk/8 (217.6 ns at full rate) 3.2 Volts nominal into high impedance load
Trigger uncertainty Marker timing resolution
< 50 ps Clock/8 (6.4 ns at full rate)
Minimum trigger width Marker latency
12.8 ns at full clock rate Marker precedes analog output and
Trigger delay is adjustable in 2 sample clock period
Programmable from 1 to 256 sync steps.
clock cycles with 1 sync clock cycle Marker latency repeatability
resolution < 100 ps
Module synchronization Marker width
Supports system scaling for any Programmable from 1 to 256 sync
number of N6030A modules. A clock cycles
single module can support fan-out Marker delay
of 8 N6030A modules for precise Programmable from –8 to 502 sample
triggering and repeatability. Driver clock cycles, with 2 sample clock
boards may be used to scale any cycle resolution
number of modules.
  • Sync clock output level 800 mV p-p (50 ohms, AC coupled)
  • Sync clock input sensitivity 100 mV p-p minimum into 50 ohms AC coupled
  • Analog output
  • Output connector SMA female
  • Output impedance 50 Ohms

Analog output levels
The following output levels are specified into 50 ohms
Single-ended Differential
Passive mode 0.5 Vp-p N/A
Active mode 1 Vp-p with N/A
  ±0.2 V offset  
Direct DAC N/A 1 Vp-p
mode (0 volt offset)
  • Uncorrected passband flatness ±1 dB DC - 200 MHz; ±2.5 dB DC - 500 MHz (with 1.25 GHz clock)
  • Uncorrected passband group delay ±500 ps DC - 200 MHz; ±1 ns DC - 500 MHz (with 1.25 GHz clock)
  • Reconstruction filters 500 MHz and 250 MHz realized as 7-pole Cauer Chebychev filters plus thru-line output
  • Pulse response Rise time (10 to 90%): < 1 ns Fall time (10 to 90%): < 1 ns Amplitude: 0.5 Vp-p