The signal integrity challenges in nextgen embedded designs -

The signal integrity challenges in nextgen embedded designs

As a regular attendee at the DesignCon every year, I recently got a reminder that the next meeting of the self-described “chipheads” is coming up Jan 28- 30, 2015, again focused on hardware design challenges in leading edge high speed communications designs.

Thinking about what value I get out of attending such meetings I realized that in addition to getting a good understanding of current problems in today’s bleeding edge high-speed apps, DesignCon may also give a peek into what designers of mainstream embedded designs might be facing a few years out.

Some of you may have been around long enough to remember that there was a time when 300 bits/second acoustic couplers were the way to access the Internet and 9600 and 14,400 bits/second all-digital access and all its problems were in the far “hand-wavy” future. Now wired home network access starts at about 128-256 Mbits/second and MIMO-enabled LTE mobile links can reach 326 Mbits/second. So current problems with signal integrity – noise, jitter, crosstalk, and electromagnetic interference – at the high end of the communications spectrum may also be the can of worms developers of next-generation connected and mobile apps will have to deal with.

Below are a few recent design articles and technical papers on problems developers of connected designs are currently facing that were previously only in the domain chip-heads were concerned about:

Innovative Defense Techniques for Damping Digital to RF Crosstalk
Many mobile devices have multiple-input-multiple-output (MIMO) on-board antennas that present many challenges to signal integrity. Here is one approach to design that reduces noise significantly and makes comm links more immune to interference.

Designing the optimal wireless base station MIMO antenna
In a two-part series, the authors delineate the various types of MIMO antennae and provide some guidelines on how to make the right choices in a wireless base station design that avoids many problems relating to signal integrity.

Addressing MIPI M-PHY connectivity challenges
As the mobile and wireless device markets move to adopt MIPI Alliance’s M-PHY standard, designers are encountering some significant challenges related to oscilloscope measurements of signal integrity problems relating to noise, jitter and crosstalk.

To get a sense of what is coming next in both current leading edge high speed communications designs as well as nextgen mainstream embedded and mobile designs be sure to register to attend DesignCon 2015, where you will find plenty to interest you. In the meantime, included inthis week's Tech Focus newsletter are a number of recent articles and papers on signal integrity, EMI, and related topics, of which my Editor's Top Picks are:

ABCs of signal integrity for embedded developers
A series of articles exploring the challenges of designing for signal integrity and possible solutions.

Building quality & signal integrity into PoP-based PCB design & assembly
Why designers of printed circuit boards for nextgen ICs need to be savvy about package-on-package technology.

Addressing EMI test challenges in nextgen high density interconnect PCB design
How to address the testing and EMI conformity challenges of next-generation printed circuit board design and what factors should be considered when evaluating a PCB design tool.

Another resource is DesignCon Central,where you can get the most recent info on dealing with such problems. If you have submitted a topic to the conference and it has been accepted, be sure to read “Writing a great technical paper” by Janine Love, in which she offers guidelines for writing a paper that will be noticed by the judges. Her guidelines are also good ones to follow if you are writing for any technical venue, including If you need more guidance about writing something for give me a call or email me with your ideas and let's talk. Site Editor Bernard Cole is also editor of the twice-a-week newsletters as well as a partner in the TechRite Associates editorial services consultancy. He welcomes your feedback. Send an email to , or call 928-525-9087.

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