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Delivering High-Speed Communications — The Back Story

By Mike Gianfagna on 05/30/2019
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Back in January, I posted a blog about what it takes to deliver high-speed communication. In that post, I talked about a new test board for our high-speed 7nm 56G PAM4 & NRZ DSP-based long-reach SerDes. We collaborated with several companies to build a high-precision board that could be used to test our SerDes in a system context. At that time, we were just finishing the opening act for this new hardware using a five-meter copper cable at DesignCon.

The show went well, and our demo got rave reviews. We participated in DesignCon with our partner Samtec and showed the eye-popping five-meter cable demo in their booth. This unique cable was fabricated by Samtec. We talked a lot about the capabilities delivered by our demo at the show and discussed some of the collaboration needed to build the board in my prior post. But there is so much more to the story.

eSilicon high-speed SerDes Samtec Examax demo Designcon 2019
Long-reach SerDes demonstration at the Samtec booth, DesignCon 2019

The design of the test board we demonstrated was a work of art with respect to signal and power integrity. Wild River performed the board design. Along with Samtec’s five-meter cable, additional sophisticated cabling solutions from Samtec were employed. Keysight Technologies products were used to explore signal power spectral density. Several other sophisticated tools were employed in the design process as well.

The actual design itself was accomplished as a parallel effort among several design teams. How those results converged to the final design is another interesting story. Exactly what signal and power integrity challenges represent and what methods and standards can be used to minimize those challenges is yet another interesting story. What comes next in the field of high-performance communications is quite informative as well.

We are now working with our partners on a white paper that will delve into all these topics and more. We’ll be introducing the white paper along with a live webinar that will give attendees a first-hand look at what’s involved in these kinds of designs. The white paper is almost done, and we’ll be announcing the webinar soon. Watch your inbox.