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Signal Integrity Fundamentals

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Data centers depend on channels in transmit and receive systems to accurately and efficiently deliver valuable information. A poorly performing device in a channel can cause signal integrity issues and jeopardize the delivery of intelligible data. That makes developing channel devices and interconnects with high signal integrity critical. Testing and identifying the sources of signal integrity issues in a device, then fixing them, is a big challenge. This paper includes simulation and measurement recommendations to help you design your device for high signal integrity.

A central processing unit (CPU) that sends information to a light-emitting diode display is a good example of a digital communications channel. The channel — everything between the CPU and the display — includes interconnect devices such as a graphics card, cables, and an onboard video processor. Each device, as well as the connections between them in the channel, creates opportunities for disturbance or interference to the CPU’s transmitted data.

Signal integrity problems may include cross talk, delays, ringing, and electromagnetic interference. Addressing signal integrity problems early enables the development of high-performance products with higher reliability and lower costs.


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