Voice of the Experts: Signal Integrity
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The articles and columns contained in this section come from members of the Signal Integrity Journal’s Editorial Advisory Board (EAB). Members of the EAB review every technical article posted on the site, and are often sought after for their advice. In this column area, the EAB will talk about issues related to signal integrity.

Signal Integrity

Practical Modeling of High-speed Channels Based on Data Sheet Input

October 2, 2017

As Dave Dunham from Molex Corp. likes to say, "When designing high-speed serial links beyond 10 GB/s, everything matters." In order to ensure first time success at these speeds, accurate channel modeling is a prerequisite. This is especially true for long backplane channels.

Although many EDA tools include the latest and greatest models for conductor surface roughness and wide-band dielectric properties, obtaining the right parameters to feed the models is always a challenge. Often the only sources are from data sheets alone. But in most cases, the numbers do not translate directly into parameters needed for the EDA tools. So how do we get these parameters?

One way is to follow the design feedback method which involves designing, building and measuring a test coupon, then extracting the parameters through tuning simulation to measurement. Although this method is pretty practical and accurate, a significant amount of expertise and equipment is required to design, build and measure the test coupon, which takes significant amount of time and money.

But, as Eric Bogatin often likes to say, “Sometimes an OK answer NOW! is better than a good answer late.” As a high-speed signal integrity practitioner and backplane architect, I often have to come up with an answer sooner, rather than later because of the impact to time and cost to my clients. And that’s why I have been motivated over the last few years to research and develop simple methodologies to accurately determine parameters to feed into modern EDA tools.

If you went to this year`s EDICON 2017 in Boston, and attended the High-speed Digital Symposium session, organized by our own Signal Integrity Journal editor Eric Bogatin, you would have heard me speak on a “Practical Modeling of High-speed Channels Based on Data Sheet Input.” which was the title of my presentation.

For those of you who could not attend, I have made available an annotated slide deck. You can download a copy here.

What you will learn:

  • How to use my Cannonball model to determine Huray roughness parameters from data sheet alone
  • How to determine effective dielectric constant due to roughness from data sheets alone
  • How to apply these parameters in the latest version of Polar Si9000e Field Solver
  • How to pull it all together using Keysight ADS software

And this is an example of simulation results compared to measurements you can expect to see:

Also check out Eric`s recent SI journal “High Speed Digital Symposium Highlights” article for a summary of all the other fine presentations at the Symposium.