The customer is building a cable TV test instrument which will allow the service provider to monitor and troubleshoot the cable TV network. There are approximately 9,000 cable providers in North America and many more around the world who may become users of this equipment.
The technique used to detect cable breaks is the classic pulse-echo method. A 12.5 MHz frequency chirp is fed into the cable and the resulting echo is digitized. The frequency content of the echo provides information on any malfunctions in the cable network.
The echo signal is typically 200 mV amplitude, with a frequency range of 10 to 40 MHz. This means that the required sampling rate is at least 100 MSPS. The customer wants to feed a 12.5 MHz "chirp" signal into Channel B and trigger on it. Channel A will have the appropriate data which the customer will "massage" to get results.
Currently, the customer has a "proof of concept" system working with a Tektronix 220 digital oscilloscope under GPIB control. The cost of such a system is approximately $2,500.
The customer is interested in looking at the CompuScope family of products because it allows them to sell a "complete solution" in one box, rather than two or three boxes comprising a Tektronix scope, a PC and a monitor.
Using a CompuScope card, the customer will also be able to speed up the spectrum analysis, etc., as data transfers will be much faster across the PC bus than over GPIB.
CompuScopes also offer them the ability to market two types of systems: low-end systems with 40 dB dynamic range using 8-bit CompuScopes; and high-end systems with 60 dB dynamic range using 12-bit CompuScopes. Tektronix cannot offer them the same flexibility; neither can HP nor LeCroy.
Finally, the strategic advantage this customer has in going with GaGe's CompuScope cards is that they can build a system with their own company logo on the "box," rather than the Tektronix (or some other) logo. The customer is thus able to achieve the first goal in their attempt at product differentiation.
The product we suggested to this customer was GaGe's CompuScope 265. In single-unit quantities, the price of this product is US $3,500, which was higher than the customer's budget. However, in OEM quantities, we are able to offer competitive prices.
We encourage you to contact us and discuss your test & measurement application in more detail with our engineering team. GaGe can provide tailored custom data acquisition hardware and software solutions to meet specific application requirements.