Although the terminology for the different classes of generators is not standardized, there is a general market consensus that all the generators fall into three category, namely signal, function and waveform generators.
The most commonly used one is AWG.
AWG, which is short for Arbitrary Waveform Generator
, is a kind of signal source. It has all the characteristics of the signal sources and it can generate waveforms of any design. In this case, arbitrary waveform generators can meet all sorts of simulation and testing requirements, which makes design and debugging very convenient.
The constructed waveform is converted to an analog signal using a digital-to-analog converter (DAC) operating at clock rates up to a few GHz. The varieties of waveforms that may be generated with an AWG include standard functions (sine, square, pulse, triangle, ramp), non-standard functions (sin(x)/x, exponential, cardiac, noise, etc.) compliance test waveforms (video color bar pattern, AM/FM radio tones, encoded communication test signals, etc.), a combination of signals (multi-tone, noisy sine wave, or digital pulse stream with transient spikes, etc.), or the playback of signals captured with digital oscilloscopes. AWG usually works with PC via the USB cords.
Unlike function generators, arbitrary waveform generators
can generate any arbitrarily defined waveform as their output, any point-by-point synthesis. The application covers capture-playback, custom signal and compliance test. AWG is often used as a modulation source that is applied to the RF signal generator, which allows the highly flexible AWG to generate a complicated or lengthy modulation signal for the signal generator’s high-frequency sine wave output. Two-channel arbitrary waveform generators will provide complex I/Q vector modulation. Some of them can even work as conventional function generators by using on-instrument algorithms to generate standard functions.
Recently, Beijing Rigol Technologies firstly launch a new generation of domestic direct digital frequency synthesis (DDS) signal generator DG3000 series
. They are able to generate high accuracy and high stability sine waves, square waves, and other popular waveforms. They can also generate programmable pulse signals. With powerful functions and user-friendly design, it offers a good choice for Arbitrary Waveform Generator fans.
Other than the functional waveforms, the arbitrary waveform feature allows engineers to generate any desired waveforms through the use of Ultra Wave, the application and waveform editing software. Surely they will become very popular in the market.