Keysight Technologies Introduces PAM-4 Capability for its Advanced Design System Channel Simulator

Software Provides a Trusted Bit-by-Bit Simulation Engine for PAM-4


  • Allows system designers to use PAM-4 IBIS-AMI models from SerDes vendors within their channel simulations
  • Extends Keysight IBIS-AMI SerDes channel simulation software to enable electrical backplane designs with data rates greater than 56 Gbps per lane
  • Developed in conjunction with leading PAM-4 SerDes IC vendors

SANTA ROSA, Calif. — (BUSINESS WIRE) — November 17, 2015 — Keysight Technologies, Inc. (NYSE: KEYS) today announced a four-level pulsed amplitude modulation (PAM-4) capability for the Keysight EEsof EDA Advanced Design System (ADS) Channel Simulator. The introduction of this capability further advances Keysight’s leadership position in IBIS-AMI SerDes channel simulation.

With Keysight’s new ADS PAM-4 capability, system designers can now use PAM-4 IBIS-AMI models within the industry standard ADS Channel Simulator. Developed in collaboration with leading PAM-4 SerDes IC vendors, the ADS Channel Simulator provides a trusted bit-by-bit simulation engine for PAM-4. The new technology enables system designers to easily compare the various design tradeoffs between non-return-to-zero (NRZ) and PAM-4 signaling technologies.

“Working closely with leading SerDes vendors and the IBIS Open Forum to define and validate our channel simulation approach for PAM-4, we’ve developed a highly accurate solution for PAM-4 measurements,” says Stephen Slater, product manager for Keysight EDA. “Our software solution relies heavily on our measurement expertise and leadership in IBIS-AMI SerDes channel simulation. It’s that measurement expertise that makes Keysight uniquely equipped to guide system engineers from simulation all the way through to test and measurement of real hardware.”

PAM-4 is a signaling technology utilized for high-speed SerDes links over electrical backplanes that are attempting to deliver a data rate of greater than 56 Gbps per lane. For system designers, a key challenge with PAM-4 is simulation accuracy during serial-link design. Traditional EDA software simulations only consider 2-level signaling. PAM-4 signals however, are affected by conventional impairments (e.g., jitter, noise, channel loss and inter-symbol interference) in unconventional ways; only for the resulting eye measurements to be further complicated by new receiver behavior (three slicer thresholds, individual slicer timing skew, equalization, and clock and data recovery) introduced to minimize the symbol error rate. Accurately understanding how each of these variables influence specific design trade-offs for PAM-4 links requires a channel simulator with the ability to handle PAM-4 IBIS-AMI models from SerDes vendors.

The ADS Channel Simulator with PAM-4 capability features a number of new built-in measurements that can capture effects such as slicer threshold levels and how they adapt over time, timing skew for each slicer, and multi-tap decision feedback equalization. The software’s accurate measurement techniques specifically provide the symbol-error-rate contours for each PAM-4 eye.

U.S. Pricing and Availability

Keysight’s ADS Channel Simulator with support for PAM-4 will be available in the upcoming release of ADS 2016. Example PAM-4 IBIS-AMI models and simulation trial licenses are available now.

The ADS Channel Simulator with PAM-4 capability enhances the total Keysight PAM-4 solution from design simulation to transmit and receive characterization. More information about the capability is available at Information about all other Keysight PAM-4 software is available here. Images of the new capability are available at

About Keysight EEsof EDA Software

Keysight EEsof EDA is the leading supplier of electronic design automation software for microwave, RF, high-frequency, high-speed digital, RF system, electronic system level, circuit, 3-D electromagnetic, physical design and device-modeling applications. More information is available at

About Keysight Software

Keysight software is downloadable 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 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 2014. Information about Keysight is available at

Additional information about Keysight Technologies is available in the newsroom at .

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