Systems & Design

Understanding The Differences Between Oscilloscopes And Digitizers For Wideband Signal Acquisitions

The advantages and disadvantages of using oscilloscopes or wideband digitizers for wideband signal applications.


Most of us remember the first time we used an oscilloscope. With one look at the large display, we could tell what was happening to our waveforms. From the earliest days, oscilloscopes have been a primary tool for quick visualization of time-variant waveforms, and over the years, they’ve become a core instrument on the bench. Wideband digitizers are related to modern oscilloscopes since both utilize analog to digital converters (ADC) for waveform acquisition. Although there are many similarities between oscilloscopes and wideband digitizers, they have different targeted applications.

Some test equipment suppliers will promote a scope as a wideband digitizer, or vice versa, and this may cause confusion when trying to select the right product for your application. The differences between digitizers and scopes may seem subtle, but the wrong selection can cause headaches. Knowing the architecture, applications, and trade-offs will help you choose the right solution for your use. Keysight offers extensive experience and a broad selection of oscilloscopes and wideband digitizers, one of which will be the ideal fit for your measurement challenge.

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