Agilent Debuts EEsof Tools at the International Microwave Symposium

June 3, 2013. Agilent Technologies EEsof Division is presenting new software at this week's International Microwave Symposium, including latest release of Electromagnetic Professional (EMPro), its 3-D electromagnetic simulation software, and new reference libraries for SystemVue, its platform for communications and aerospace/defense systems design. The company also announced the latest addition to its repeater model library.

EMPro 2013 helps design engineers identify and resolve difficult electromagnetic interference (EMI) problems. It also offers a number of new capabilities to reduce simulation time and increase design efficiency.

EMPro 2013 allows engineers to simulate the radiated emissions of electronic circuits and components and then determine whether these emissions are within levels specified by common electromagnetic compatibility (EMC) standards, such as FCC Part 15, CISPR 22 and MIL-STD-461F. This capability is enabled by new specification-compliance templates, as well as several enhancements to both EMPro’s finite element method (FEM) and finite difference time domain (FDTD) simulators.

“With more electronics being integrated into smaller packages, EMI problems are quickly becoming a leading cause of new product delays,” said Marc Petersen, EMPro product manager at Agilent EEsof EDA. “As a result, designers are now turning to EM simulation to catch these problems early and ensure their designs are compliant with EMI specifications. Our newest EMPro software release provides designers the capabilities they need to address this challenge head on.”

EMPro 2013 introduces several enhancements that cover a broad range of applications:

  • a simulation management tool for launching remote and distributed simulations on high-end servers and compute clusters, disconnecting and later reconnecting a client computer, and receiving status updates on a mobile device.
  • increased FEM mesh performance and robustness for large designs,
  • new FEM hybrid boundary conditions that result in higher simulation speed and accuracy,
  • FDTD simulation enhancements in the areas of port accuracy and graphical processing unit acceleration,
  • a real-time electrical connectivity checking tool in the main geometry modeling window that prevents inadvertent gaps between conductors,
  • a parameterized trace component for modeling IC and printed circuit board interconnects, and
  • numerous graphical user interface enhancements, in the areas of snapping, bending, length measurements, results display and managing large groups of objects.

EMPro 2013 will be available for download in July. Interested parties can evaluate the software by applying for a trial version at www.agilent.com/find/eesof-empro-downloads-and-trials.

Retimer Solution

Agilent Technologies also introduced the latest addition to its repeater model library for quickly and accurately solving the challenge posed by signal distortion in the multigigabit-per-second regime. The retimer solution, available in the Advanced Design System 2013 Transient Convolution Element and SystemVue 2013 AMI Modeling Kit, is used for designing electrical retimers in chip-to-chip, high-speed digital links.

Before the multigigabit era, chip-to-chip digital signals propagated across entire printed circuit boards with little distortion. However, at today’s speeds, rising and falling edges degrade after traveling only a few inches on production board materials like FR4. In digital applications, it is cost-prohibitive to use high-frequency laminate board materials to solve the problem. A more economical solution is to insert a mid-channel retimer circuit.

Up to now, simulation tools used to design in these nonlinear devices have used computationally expensive SPICE techniques like Newton-Raphson iteration on modified nodal analysis of Kirchoff’s current law. With this latest breakthrough, Agilent offers a quick solution based on bit-by-bit channel simulation and the IBIS AMI flow to retimer applications. Unlike Spice, these techniques include computationally efficient algorithms like superposition.

Using a prestandard, novel extension to the industry-standard IBIS AMI flow, SystemVue 2013 now offers model builders (typically integrated-circuit vendors) a tool to build retimer models. The models run in ADS, the tool that IC consumers (typically data center and telecoms equipment manufacturers) use to design these chips into their systems.

“With our previous repeater model library release we added a simpler class of repeater models called redrivers,” said Colin Warwick, product manager for high-speed digital design at Agilent EEsof EDA. “In general, retimers are more complex because they include additional circuitry for clock/data recovery. Our new retimer models join the existing redriver models to form a complete library of repeaters. We’re working with leading retimer and redriver IC vendors to make these models available to mutual customers.”

Agilent will submit a proposed enhancement to the IBIS Open Forum later this year. The intent is to incorporate the new techniques into a future version of the IBIS standard. This will ensure retimer model portability across EDA tools in future.

In addition, ADS 2013 adds support for power-aware IBIS models and for the Touchstone 2 file format, as well as a Touchstone Combiner that lets engineers build multiport victim/aggressor channel models out of measured data from a four-port vector network analyzer.

Agilent’s SystemVue 2013 and Advanced Design System 2013 are available now. Pricing depends on the exact configuration desired. A schematic showing the retimer model in use is available at www.agilent.com/find/ADS_RetimerModeling_images.

Reference Libraries for SystemVue

Agilent also announced two reference libraries for SystemVue, its platform for communications and aerospace/defense systems design.

The Global Navigation Satellite System baseband verification and Digital Modem libraries allow system designers and algorithmic researchers to bring instrument-grade standards references into design simulation early in the R&D process. Satellite and communications systems can now be verified under a variety of realistic impaired conditions, before baseband or RF hardware is available, enabling faster deployment of high-performance systems.

Next-generation location-based services require robust satellite and telemetry systems offering increased redundancy and higher levels of location coverage and security. To deliver this functionality, military and civilian systems designers are exploring new receiver algorithms for navigation systems, additional frequencies, and high-performance RF/baseband architectures. Agilent’s GNSS library aids this effort by providing researchers with a GPS transmit/receive algorithm reference, fading and multi-satellite constellation support, and modulation references for Beidou, GLONASS and Galileo. Links from SystemVue to Agilent’s RF simulators and test and measurement provide a configurable, multi-discipline design flow for the full R&D lifecycle of satellite navigation systems.

 “GNSS measurement personalities are generally optimized for high-volume wireless testing, which offers no flexibility to anticipate impairment and interference scenarios in early R&D,” said Daren McClearnon, ESL design segment lead at Agilent. “SystemVue pulls together reference intellectual property, the designer’s own DSP and RF architectures, and realistic test waveforms into simulated scenarios, enabling designers to validate new ideas before systems are deployed in hardware.”

Satellite communications designers upgrading to higher data-rate systems require additional framing, synchronization, equalization, re-training, filtering, sampling, and direct-sequence spread spectrum (DSSS) support. Lacking commercial tool support, designers typically handcraft custom toolsets for both simulation and test equipment.

Agilent’s Digital Modem library eliminates the need for this effort. It provides easy signal processing reference models–complete with BER testing–for approximately 35 digital modulation formats used in satellite, military, and commercial wireless communications systems. The library also supports signal generation and measurement capture through SystemVue for hardware-in-the-loop testing of digital predistortion, DSSS communications and BER applications. Moreover, it enables different design disciplines (e.g., baseband and RF components designers as well as system architects and verifiers) to converge on a common reference for a wide variety of signal formats.

The W1919 GNSS library is now available for download as part of SystemVue 2013.01 at www.agilent.com/find/eesof-systemvue-latest-downloads. The W1902 Digital Modem library will be available for download in August. Early access can be requested at www.agilent.com/find/eesof-systemvue-earlyaccess.

Pricing for SystemVue starts at $17,687. A free, 30-day evaluation copy is available at www.agilent.com/find/eesof-systemvue-evaluation.

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