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reference signal is the input signal of the PLL.
The Phase detector must detect the phase difference betwen the reference signal and the feedback signal (VCO output).
The reference step is a step in frequency of the reference signal. If the step puts the frecuency in the lock range the PLL must acquire the lock un at most 1 beat of the natural frequency. if the Pll adquire the lock in more than a one natural frequency beat the reference signal is in the pull-in range.