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Signal Integrity Introduction Class 1

Reduction To Practice for High Speed Digital Design Reading assignment: CH8 to 9.3

Richard Mellitz

What is Signal Integrity (SI)?

An Engineering Practice

That ensures all signals transmitted are received correctly That ensures signals dont interfere with one another in a way to degrade reception. That ensures signal dont damage any device That ensures signal dont pollute the electromagnetic spectrum
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Whats this all about?

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The Business Determine design parameters for

successful signaling Design parameters are ranges for design variables within which a product can be reliably built

New Terms

One in row is not good enough

General Solution Point Solution Specific Solution
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Levels of SI Spheres of Influence

One Box End User Boxed Product Providers Silicon Providers

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SI Paradigms
Specific Solution Point Solution
Applies to a given instance of a product or specimen Applies to any single given product Encompasses a locus of specific solutions. Example: Any board that comes off a production line Applies to many products of a given type Encompasses a locus of point solutions The locus of all solutions for a specific standard (like SCSI) is an example.
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General Solution

Effective SI is Pre-Product Release.

It costs less here.

50 40 Cost of 30 failure 20 (M$) 10 0 PreValidation Post Release prototype


Time = $
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Signal Integrity Paced by Silicon Advances

Moores Law
Still true Silicon density doubles every 18 months
Density Multiplier






1 Apr-01 Sep-02 Jan-04 May-05 Oct-06 Feb-08 Jul-09

Core frequency increase roughly

Used to lag by about generation
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follows density Data transfer rate of connected I/O

What About Design Functionality?

Normally not the domain of SI Often qualifies legal operation For most computers I/O signals are v(t)
Transmitter Receiver Interconnect

Core: IC logic
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Components of High Speed Design

Transmitter Receiver Interconnect


Transistors Sources Algorithms Passives Memory

Circuit elements Transmission lines S parameter blocks (advanced topic)

Transistors Passives Algorithms Memory

Competitive performance goals challenge each

generation of technology (higher frequencies) SI encompasses a conglomerate of electrical engineering disciplines

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SI Work Modeling Simulation Measurement Validation What is good enough?

Sufficient to operate at desired frequency with required fidelity


Risk Assessment
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SI in Computers The 60s and 70s


7400 Class TTL

Several MHz operation and 5ns edges Transistor -Transistor Logic Logic design with jelly bean ICs Using loading rules from spec books Lots of combinational and asynchronous one-shot designs. Bipolar and CMOS

Introduction Richard Mellitz

The 60s and 70s - Continued


Emitter Coupled Logic Tens of MHz and 2-3ns edge rates MECL hand book One of the first books on SI
Introduced concept of termination and transmission lines

Still used spec books for rules A few engineers evaluated termination schemes but no SI engineering per se

Common SI problems were deglitching

switches and specifying clamping diodes on relay drivers.

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The 80s Hi Speed CMOS and open drain


buses 100+ MHz operation and 1ns edges Clocking issues start to creep in here Ringing becomes a problem Timing simulators emerge for SI
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The 90s
Early in the decade extracted board simulators are
Chip I/V and edge V(t) info simulated with transmission lines whose characteristics are extracted directly from PWB layout information IBIS becomes popular Edge rates move toward 300ps at launch.


Memory and I/O buses require early SI analysis SSTL series stub terminated AGTL Advanced Gunning Transistor Logic Open collector busing Differential signaling emerges Late in the decade we start to hear terms like return path, I/O power delivery, ISI, and source-synch
Extracted board simulators dont account for these
Introduction Richard Mellitz

The 00s


GHz operation and 50ps launch edges SI Engineers using spice and modeling
with Maxwell 2D/3-D field solvers. Emerging technologies
High Speed Serial Differential De/Pre emphasis Embedded clocking Data encoding Pulse Amplitude Modulation (PAM) Simultaneous Bi-Directional (SBD)
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Assignment: How much electrical transmission length
does a 5ns, 2.5ns, 1ns, 300ps, 50ps edge occupy? Assume propagation velocity is half that free of space. Determine a rationale for specifying physical wiring length in computer printed wiring boards. This is an exercise in engineering judgment. Plot the ratio of electrical edge length to board trace length (by decade) in previous slide. Use range plots.


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SI Directions Today


SI is starting to borrow from the

Vector Network Analyzer (VNA) S-parameters Return and insertion loss Eye diagram

communications industry We are starting to hear terms like

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SI Roles
Convert product parts and design features
into models and parameters Use models to simulate performance Perform measurements to validate product Determine how parameters limit performance Use cost and simulated or measured performance to determine rules for design Use margin budgets to manage designs


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SI Deliverables
Product SI Customer Architect
"What if ? "


Product Designer

Product Manager
Use measurement to ensure confidence in simulations decisions


Cost/Performance No Field Failures Tradeoff

Assignment: Fill in the above 6 boxes with hypothetical examples based on your present knowledge of the computer engineering field.
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Future of SI
Rules of thumb get old quick Old assumptions not good enough
fascinating topics


Higher and higher frequency

Can we still use transmission line models? What is the role of ground? Underscores the need to understand 2nd and 3rd order effects. List examples Many EE disciplines play together Plethora of new signal analysis and measurement methods Need to simplify designs to efficiently turn a profit.
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