Differences between a Function Generator and an AWG ?

Question:
What are the main differences between a conventional Function Generator and an Arbitrary Waveform Generator (AWG)?

Answer:
A function generator has standard, predefined waveforms, i.e. sine, square, ramp and triangle.  The user can manipulate these waveforms by adjusting basic controls such as the duty cycle, amplitude and offset.  On the other hand, the AWG has the ability to generate these standard waveforms of a function generator and allows a user to arbitrarily define and output waveforms.  The keys to reproducing accurate arbitrary waveforms are (1) sufficiently large memory, (2) high vertical resolution and (3) fast sampling rates.  With today’s rapidly evolving technology, AWGs are being used in a growing number of industries and educational institutes.  Industries utilizing AWG technology for high-end test and design include but are not limited to the military, defense, aerospace, propulsion, automotive, power generation and transmission, and industrial control.

Popular AWG’s
BK Precision 4086AWG and 4084AWG – are laboratory grade synthesized function generators with arbitrary capability. Direct digital synthesis (DDS) techniques are used to generate stable, accurate output signals for all 27 built-in standard and complex (arbitrary) waveforms as well as custom arbitrary waveforms.

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Mike is a finance industry executive with expertise in test, IT and avionics equipment acquisition, resale, residual valuation, leasing, renting and consignment.
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