2019 Sessions

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The Two Pillars of 5G: Energy and Spectral Efficiency

The session discusses the twin pillars of 5G deployment by operators: spectral efficiency (capacity) vs. energy efficiency (cost). We try to answer the question of how to increase network capacity while at the same time decreasing the network cost for both 5G FR1 and FR2 wireless networks. We explore both traditional methods of increasing capacity as well as newer methods based on old radar technology that can increase capacity while decreasing costs.

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TrueVolume Meshing in Sonnet: A 3D Model for Thick Cross-Sections

With modern microwave designs pushing the envelope with both frequency and metal cross-section, it is more important than ever to properly model thickness. With the upcoming TrueVolume subsetions from Sonnet, it will be possible to simulate the effects of full 3D currents and fields inside of a 3D-planar simulator. A live demonstration of the subsections, and their benefits to accuracy and performance precedes a Q&A.

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Design of a Fully Integrated, Surface Mount 3.5 GHz Doherty GaN PA for 5G Applications

The session will include an overview of the Doherty topology and its underlying principles of operation. It will describe the design of a fully integrated Doherty MMIC for the 3.5 GHz frequency band using the 0.4 µm GaN-on-SiC device. Details of the MMIC design, layout and packaging will be described. The measured performance shows good agreement with simulated and clearly demonstrates the advantage of the Doherty architecture.

The packaged MMIC was assembled onto a representative PCB for evaluation and achieved a PSAT of 45 dBm with a peak PAE of 50%. The PAE at 8 dB power back-off was 31.5%. Using a 100 MHz 5G NR signal with 11.5 dB PAPR the EVM was 3.5% and ACLR was less than -33 dBc at 36 dBm (4W) average power.

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The Journey to LTCC Components for Millimeter Wave Applications

Low Temperature Co-Fired Ceramic (LTCC) has been a proven technology for the implementation of miniature RF components under 6 GHz for over 20 years. LTCC components offer desirable performance over a wide range of operating frequencies, power levels and environmental conditions. Their repeatable performance, scalability and low cost have made them a successful and popular solution for applications with high-volume production requirements. Until recently, known constraints of LTCC technology have limited its adoption for applications at higher frequencies. This workshop reviews the traditional constraints of LTCC technology and explores how recent advances in material science and circuit topologies combined with advanced material characterization and simulation tools has enabled the development of cost-effective LTCC components with excellent performance up to 60 GHz.

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EMC Success Strategies for the Internet of Things

Billions of connected devices bring new opportunities and challenges including electromagnetic compatibility (EMC). The ubiquity of wireless devices is fomenting rapid changes in our lives, in our work and our health. The Internet of Things is a natural platform for connecting all manner of instruments, devices, healthcare, vehicles and…cats. This presentation introduces the broad application of “IoT” and focuses on a few ‘verticals’ and their EMC challenges. Examples include IoT solutions and EMC aspects and will touch on the coming 5G wireless cellular system.

In addition, we will focus on various test strategies for IoT devices. The IoT environment includes all manner natural EMI threats, from lightning to space-borne sources that can interrupt power and communication grids as well as man-made threats from intentional and unintentional sources. It is important to classify the expected levels and environment to properly assess strategies for design and test. For most equipment, the EMC strategies depend on the installation and operation of the IoT device. For example, IoT deployments in power distribution networks need to cope with magnetic (50/60 Hz) fields, lightning-induced transients, relay and contact closure pulses, as well as the deployment of wireless networks. Military IoT deployments face other potential interfering sources, notably high frequency and high energy radio frequency sources from communications and radio-determination systems. Some of these levels may be up to a few thousand volts-per-meter.

More sinister threats exists from nation-states and other bad actors. “Intentional EMI” is a term that has been in vogue lately, and can mean anything from a high energy transmitter that could block or degrade communications up to High Altitude Electromagnetic Pulse (HEMP) that carries the possibility of crippling distributed communications and energy networks. Assessing the EMC environment for IoT deployment also requires attention to spectrum contention issues. As 5G networks roll out, with additional spectrum being added, the opportunity for collision and interference expands. Careful attention to deployment of 5G for IoT is an area of great interest.

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Millimeter Wave LTCC Components Today

Recent advances in material systems, circuit topologies, material modelling, simulation tools and test instrumentation have opened a new world of possibilities for LTCC components. In this workshop, we present new designs and test results for LTCC components supporting applications into the millimeter wave bands. Examples include substrate integrated waveguide (SIW) filters, distributed filters, and transformers. A patented LTCC packaging solution allowing the first surface-mount implementations of MMIC products above 40 GHz will also be presented with recent examples and test results.

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5G Phased Array Antenna Design

Phased array systems operating at millimeter wave are a focused area of research by the emerging 5G communication market. Multibeam phased arrays have driven technology to use the millimeter-wave frequency spectrum for 5G communication. Based on 5G applications requirement, there is an increasing interest in making broader use of the millimeter wave frequency band for communications where narrow antenna beams from low-volume radiating apertures provide enhanced communication security. Phased arrays can adapt their radiation patterns and cancel out information in unwanted directions depending on the operating environment. This feature significantly contributes to the reception quality and data capacity in communication systems. With massive MIMO beamforming, it is possible to reduce transmit power and still get better channel performance. A massive number of antenna elements in 5G phased array enable beamforming technology, which combines radio waves and forms a single sharp beam.

However, 5G phased array antenna system design is challenging. In this webinar, I will explain the basics of 5G phased array antennas and massive MIMO through the design, analysis and realization of these arrays for 5G communication system.

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5 Challenges of 5G Wideband Test

5G presents unique test challenges to engineers having to test RFICs that operate on wider, highly complex 5G waveforms using new spectrum below 6 GHz and at millimeter wave frequencies. Engineers also face new device architectures like hybrid beamformers, and new test requirements for integrated devices like Antenna-in-Package (AiP) with lengthy over-the-air (OTA) test plans. This presentation introduces the characteristics and challenges of testing new 5G RFIC devices, and presents solutions for fast characterization, validation, and manufacturing test.

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mmWave Will Be The Critical 5G Link

5G IoT networks will require a new architecture with regard to radio integration with Edge Computing in order to satisfy the enterprise IoT automation needs of industrial customers. mmWave bands will be necessary to keep up with rising demand, so the industry is currently pouring money into deployment of base stations and development of client devices. The migration to mobile 5G usage will be tricky, with tradeoffs on beamwidth, link budget, mobility and cost coming into play. This presentation will provide an overview of how 5G and Edge Computing will need to converge before market growth can accelerate.

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Extending Existing Spectrum Analysis Equipment into 5G Wireless

For RF equipment manufacturers and system integrators (SIs), 5G represents a huge opportunity as network operators need spectrum analysis equipment that covers the frequencies for these new signals. Addressing these performance requirements in a cost-effective and easily deployable solution will lead to new opportunities.

For companies that already have equipment designed for 3G/4G/LTE, an RF downconverter can extend the performance into the frequencies needed for 5G. By integrating this existing equipment with a third-party downconverter, operators get the performance they need quickly without the expense of fully replacing their existing hardware.

This webinar will explain why these 5G signals have created a need for new spectrum analysis solutions. It will then discuss the challenges network operators face when deploying 5G networks, and show how you can adapt your products to address these challenges. The last section will highlight the benefits of working with a third-party RF downconverter over building an entirely new product.

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5G and the Future of Low Latency Applications

The world is at an interesting juncture where we are consuming data at an ever increasing rate. With applications like IoT/ AR/VR/ cloud storage becoming more popular, the need for massive data transfer is imperative. 5G will be a big breakthrough on the several fronts especially where the requirements are around high network bandwidth, high network capacity and low latency. Any application that needs real-time data at a blazing fast speed will be a primary contender for 5G. Initial 5G applications will focus on delivering connectivity services for consumers looking for more speed. But, 5G is not only about the connectivity, it is much more beyond that. It will open the door for all sort of enterprise and industries applications that have not been explored due to non-real time nature of data and associated latency issues. 5G has been in field trials and starting commercial deployments. The entire eco-system and industry partners have collaborated to define, prototype, test and deliver 5G solutions. This includes working with enterprises in verticals like industrial, retail, energy, healthcare, sports, etc. and technologies like AR, VR, AI, ML, blockchain, etc. to embark on digital transformation. Edge computing drives a critical element of compute continuum from cloud to core to RAN (radio access network). Gartner expects 75% of the data will be stored, analyzed and acted on at the edge by 2025. As the data/analysis move much closer to the end devices/users with edge computing, it creates a distributed network of public/private cloud on and off Prem. This enhances 5G’s low latency appeal and open avenues for new revenue streams that have requirements of sub 5ms or even sub 1ms latency like sports wagering, real-time gaming, real-time secure transactions, remote surgery, real-time diagnostics, real-time manufacturing, etc. Due to better ROI and lower TCO, edge computing driven by 5G will create a win-win for enterprises, telecom service providers, cloud service providers, TEMs and other ecosystem partners and accelerate the transformation.

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Designing a Narrowband 28-GHz Bandpass Filter for 5G Applications

5G represents the next milestone in mobile communications, targeting more traffic, increased capacity, reduced latency, and lower energy consumption than its predecessors. To achieve these goals, networks will need to increase bandwidths through carrier aggregation and a push into millimeter-wave spectrum, all while improving spatial efficiency with base station densification, massive multiple-in-multiple-out (MIMO) and beam-forming antenna arrays. These enabling technologies will place new demands on the underlying RF front-end components, particularly the vast number of filter designs required across a heterogeneous network of base stations (of varied cell sizes) and mobile devices. This workshop takes a look at the filter challenges brought on by adopting these new technologies and the factors driving the physical, electrical, and cost restraints for 5G filters, as well as the supporting simulation technology that will help designers physically realize these components.

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Democratization of Radar

RFICs based upon CMOS have revolutionized the RF industry, and research labs and companies across the world have developed and released production volumes of CMOS transceivers up to the millimeter band. The result has been to make radar robust, affordable, and accessible; thus, it becomes a part of life in our safety, health, and automation/IOT systems. This talk traces the origin of modern radar from its inception as a military tool to its current status as an open, commercialized technology that allows designers to focus on applications instead of hardware. Radar’s time has come, and application development of sensing and imaging using radar technology has never been easier. Join us in a celebration of what radar has achieved, take a deep technical dive into what’s happening now, and figure out how you can be a part of what’s next.

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A Three-Step Process for Radiated Emissions Troubleshooting Success

Radiated emissions is usually the most common EMI failure for product desigers and many will dread having to tackle this often project-delaying and costly challenge. Most engineers know about probing with near-field probes, but are at a loss as to what to do next with the information? I’ve developed a simple three-step process using near-field probes, current probes, and a nearby antenna to successfully troubleshoot hundreds of client projects. With a little knowledge and the right tools, you should be able to reduce the time in troubleshooting and mitigating radiated emissions from several weeks to a few days.

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3D Aluminum Metal Additive Manufacturing Infiltrates the Microwave Component Industry

Three-dimensional (3D) aluminum metal printing provides a means of producing RF/microwave passive components and component parts. Metal printed parts replace traditional “subtractive” and casting manufacturing methods. Three different microwave components will be examined. We will compare two additive manufactured parts traditionally manufactured as cast parts. We will also compare one additive manufactured part traditionally manufactured using the subtractive manufacturing method. Comparisons will include measured mechanical and electrical characteristics.

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Near-Field Antenna for RFID Tag Inspection

RFID Tags are commonly inspected using Far-Field Antennas with a Reader, so multiple RFID Tags are simultaneously illuminated by the antenna beam, which permits each RFID Tag to respond and be counted. However, it is important to realize that RFID Tags are relatively inexpensive to fabricate and deploy onto packages for inventory control, security, and other purposes. These RFID Tags are not commonly inspected before they are deployed, so both Working and Defective RFID Tags are placed onto packages, which creates inventory errors and security losses when packages containing Defective RFID Tags cannot be correctly counted by a Far-Field RFID system.

Hence, RFID Tag inspection systems are often used to sort Working from Defective RFID Tags to mitigate this problem. RFID Tags are mass produced and distributed on tape spools that contain hundreds, and at time thousands of RFID Tags on a single tape spool. It is obvious that a Far-Field Antenna cannot be used to identify individual Defective RFID Tags on a tape spool, so a Near-Field Antenna was developed for this inspection system. The Near-Field Antenna permits identification of individual Working and Defective RFID Tags on a tape spool, permitting only Working RFID Tags to be deployed onto packages and the Defective RFID Tags are subsequently destroyed.

The Near-Field Antenna is also used to locate a single package with a specific RFID Number when a Far-Field Antenna has isolated the location of the package to a container or box containing multiple RFID Tags located on separate packages. Each package can then be inspected with the Near-Field Antenna to identify the package containing the desired RFID Number.

The Near-Field Antenna operates at 915 MHz, and was fabricated as a CPW Meander Line yielding a Return Loss of -14 dB across the IMS band. The CPW Near-Field Antenna was designed to be less than 5-mm away from the RFID Tag, mitigating excitation of more than one RFID Tag by a Reader.

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mmW Projects with the Vtrig Evaluation Kit

Attendees will get to experience the University Vtrig, a brand new mmWave evaluation kit from Mini Circuits. Based on Vayyar’s unique chip, the Vtrig allows for an unprecedented amount of signals control for the user, including setting the antenna array, controlling the frequency range and the resolution bandwidth. We’ll show the evaluation kit’s capabilities in an interactive fashion focusing on hardware and software. Most importantly, you’ll get a chance to see and experience the type of applications now possible.

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MIMO Radar for Vehicles

Analyzed here is the most common Multiple Input Multiple Output (MIMO) radar architectures being considered for automobile radars. It is shown that for some cases conventional radars having the same number of elements can provide better angle resolution and accuracy and at the same time provide much lower antenna sidelobes. MIMO radars are explained in simple physical terms rather than heavy exotic math. The totally physical explanation of MIMO radar gives one a feel for where to use MIMO radars in the future.

It is shown that contrary to what is claimed in the literature, MIMO radars do not provide orders of magnitude better resolution and accuracy than conventional radars. It is shown that MIMO radars do not provide better performance against barrage and hot clutter jammers. Against repeater jammers, MIMO may provide worse performance. The Radar equation for MIMO radars is developed. Where MIMO radar could be useful is for car radars, OTH radar, and for coherently or incoherent combining radars to get increased sensitivity with existing radars is covered.

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High Performance PCB Modeling for Microwave and mmWave Applications

The performance of microwave and millimeter wave circuits in the application areas of 5G, IoT, 77 GHz radars and satellite communications may vary with different PCB materials. Evaluation of the circuit before fabrication and test through electromagnetics simulation tools is beneficial to reduce the time and effort required in the design process during the development cycle. It is important to choose accurate material properties such as relative dielectric constant and loss tangent to get reliable simulation results. When higher frequency is need for 5G devices, the surface roughness of the conductive layer may not be negligible, so it should be included in the simulation as well. In this webinar, you will see a live demonstration in the COMSOL Multiphysics® software showing how to set up and run a simulation to design and evaluate a Grounded Coplanar Waveguide (GCPW) line. We will investigate the impact on the performance of the circuit board by choosing different types of material and surface roughness models.

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Important Circuit Material Properties the RF Engineer Needs to Consider When Designing Millimeter-Wave Radar

High frequency circuit materials are used in a variety of printed circuit board (PCB) applications. Some of these applications are for digital circuitry and others are based on RF technology. Understanding the areas of concern for the application and how certain material properties interact with those concerns, can be critical for the success of an RF application or digital circuitry.

It is well known that RF applications operating at lower microwave frequencies typically use dielectric materials with thicker substrates. It is also well known that as frequencies increase, a thicker substrate can cause problems related to wave propagation properties. Due to this issue and other related issues, using a thinner substrate for the PCB is typically necessary for applications operating at millimeter-wave frequencies. When the substrate is relatively thin, the circuit is much more sensitive to copper surface roughness and other conductor related issues. Additionally, the radars which operate at these frequencies are extremely sensitive to phase response.

This presentation will explain several material and circuit properties which can affect millimeter-wave radar performance. The topics covered will start with a discussion on copper surface roughness variation and its impact on insertion loss and phase response. Also discussed will be thermal coefficient of dielectric constant, also known as TCDk. Some information will be given on glass weave effect as well as final plated finish. Measured data will be given in support of these topics, which will range from about 1 GHz to 80 GHz.

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Metamaterials for Electronic Scanning, Wideband Antennas and Stealth/Cloaking

Metamaterials have gained much interest in recent years because they offer the potential to provide low cost electronic scanning antennas and to provide target stealth. Target cloaking has been demonstrated at microwave frequencies over a narrow bandwidth using metamaterials. Cloaking has been demonstrated over a 50% bandwidth at L-band using fractal metamaterials.

For Communication Antennas: Using Ku-band antennas which use metamaterial resonators in a very novel way to realize electronic steering potentially at low cost, one company has transmitted to satellites and back while other companies have developed metamaterial arrays for radar. The Army Research Laboratory funded the development of a metamaterial 250 to 505 MHz low profile antenna with a λ/20 thickness for replacement of the very visible tall whip antennas on HMMWVs thus providing greater survivability. Complementing this, a conventional tightly coupled dipole antenna (TCDA) has been developed which provides a 20:1 bandwidth with a λ/40 thickness. The two together could be employed in escort jammer aircraft like the USA Next Generation Jammer on the EA-1G Growler covering the band from VHF to Ku-band. They could serve as conformal or low profile antennas on the aircraft.

Other Applications: Metamaterials have been used in cell phones to provide antennas that are 5X smaller (1/10th λ) having 700 MHz to 2.7 GHz bandwidth. Under Army funding isolation equivalent to 1 m separation has been achieved for antennas with 2.5 cm separation has been achieved allowing simultaneous transmission and reception on a small relay. It has the potential for use in phased array for wide angle impedance matching (WAIM) by placing metamaterial between the radiating elements to reduce mutual coupling. Using metamaterial one can focus 6X beyond diffraction limit at 0.38 μm (Moore’s Law marches on); 40X diffraction limit, λ/80, at 375 MHz demonstrated.

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Latest Trends in Active Electronically Scanned Antennas (AESAs)

While AESAs have been around for decades, recent advances in enabling components such as solid-state efficient amplifiers, low C-SWAP RF electronics, and novel packaging/architectures, have greatly increased the applications where previously AESAs were thought to be too expensive. In this talk, we will review AESA architectures, identifying the key cost and SWAP drivers, along with the latest technologies to address these issues. We will also discuss some of the latest breakthroughs in metamaterial electronically scanned antennas (ESAs) that do not require separate RF channels or phase shifters/time delay units (TDUs). Finally, example applications leveraging this new generation of AESAs/ESAs will be discussed.

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Absorptive Vent Material for High Frequency Emissions Control

This study was commissioned by ARC Technologies LLC., which was interested in characterizing their lossy material for potential use in fabricating air vents for the chassis of electronic products that would reduce high frequency emissions below that of conventional perforated metal vents. The test setup consisted of a small reverberation chamber, with drive signals provided by and detection using a Vector Network Analyzer, which was controlled by a custom control program. Test samples with different opening sizes were tested, and the results were compared to those using a conventional perforated metal panel. Additional samples were silver plated and tested to simulate the effect of vents constructed using the lossy material installed on top of a perforated metal panel. The reference configuration was a coaxial cable inside the chamber that was terminated with a 50 Ohm closed standard. Measurement results are presented that compare the emissions from the various test samples to those using a conventional perforated metal panel vent.

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Signal Integrity/Power Integrity

56G/112 Gbps From Front-Panel to the Backplane

As data rate requirements approach and surpass 56/112 Gbps PAM4, developers are challenged with balancing increasing throughput, scalability and density demands with concerns such as power consumption, signal integrity, cost and time-to-market. In this keynote, Samtec will demonstrate real-world applications in high-performance interconnect design, channel optimization, and alternate system architectures that exceed the demands of next generation data transmission.

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DDR/LPDDR Board Design for Signal and Power Integrity

Recently, printed circuit board (PCB) layouts use a double-data rate (DDR) memory. DDR allows two data bit transitions to occur during a single clock cycle, instead of a single data bit transition doubling its data throughput. The increased speed has caused increased complexity of the PCB layout, bus timing, signal integrity and power integrity.

This talk covers factors we must consider including: proper setup/hold time, clean supply voltages, proper termination, trace length matching (including internal length from chip pin until package lead race), topologies for routing VREF, clock and address control, DQS, DQ, power integrity and crosstalk. Samples of DDR4 PCB routing and 6-12 Layers stackup will be demonstrated.

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Characterizing the VRM

A high fidelity VRM model is required to properly assess system performance, and this includes power integrity (PI). This has always been my position and I have presented papers, videos and lectures on the topic. Most recently I wrote an article, published in the July 2019 Signal Integrity Journal, illustrating the interactions between the VRM and the system. This clearly shows why full VRM characterization is essential.

In this session I’ll show the test bench setup to perform the measurements needed to characterize the predominant VRM noise paths:

    1. Input self-Impedance (predominantly negative resistance for a switching regulator)
    2. Output self-impedance (Generally used for target impedance assessment)
    3. Input to output transfer (input voltage to output voltage transmission (PSRR)
    4. Output to Input or Reverse transfer (output current to input current transmission)
    5. Input noise current (predominantly switching induced)
    6. Output noise (predominantly switching induced)

These measurements provide a roadmap to optimizing the VRM from a system level perspective, ensuring power integrity, while minimizing VRM noise that degrades performance of other system circuits.

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Techniques for Balancing Power and Frequency Performance for Thick Film RF Terminations

Designers of RF electronics are often faced with limitations imposed by components. One of the most common limitations is designing very high power while achieving good high RF characteristics. In terms of termination components design approaches including novel resistor and trim geometry, chip orientation, ideal input termination size, and a pre-tuning of DC ohm value to match system impedance at high frequency can be used to optimize balance competing performance parameters. The cost, electrical, and thermal characteristics of Aluminum Nitride vs CVD Diamond can be further compared to investigate what combination of component features produce the most useful combination of resulting component behavior to support next generation RF designs with high power.

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Best Design Practices to Eliminate Ground Bounce in Your Next Product

The fastest way to fix or prevent a problem is to identify its root cause and fix it at the source. Ground bounce is a type of cross talk related to return path discontinuities. We will look at a few examples of design features that cause ground bounce, and how to avoid this problem in your next product. We will use measurements of two board designs, one done correctly and one with ground bounce errors to verify our best design practices. After we explore the root cause and how to prevent ground bounce, you should never suffer this problem again.

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Testing Parallel Interfaces of the Future: Transmitter and Receiver Test Methods for 28 Gbps and Beyond

High-speed signaling interfaces are increasingly being used in parallel wireline applications such as processor-to-processor, processor-to-memory, and processor-to-sensor links. These links require very dense — often single-ended — routing while still operating at rates of up to 28 Gbps per pin. This workshop will detail specific test and measurement considerations for ensuring the proper characterization and screening of parallel high-data rate links. We will cover topics such as protocol-based traffic generation and receiver link margining within the context of a parallel system-oriented test methodology.

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Test Fixture De-embedding for PCB Characterization and Material Extraction

Many aspects of printed circuit board layout and design for signal integrity require measurement verification, for example, connector interfaces, via transitions, and material characterization. However, the location, or port, at which S-parameters are desired are typically at some interior point on the PCB design, and removed from the measurement port where cables or probes are located. Consequently, this test fixturing must be de-embedded before using the measured S-parameters for comparison with simulation, in channel analysis, or for material extraction. De-embedding using a 2X Thru approach will presented, and suitable test fixture development for successful de-embedding to high frequencies will be discussed. The specific application presented will be PCB material characterization.

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High-Speed Interconnect Design and Correlation at 112 Gbps PAM: How does this affect me?

Prototype 112 Gbps PAM4 silicon is already available. Production 112 Gbps PAM4 silicon is just around the corner. Routing 112 Gbps PAM4 signals through a system poses many challenges for designers. In this course, SI expert Scott McMorrow will detail an interconnect design process from concept and design through simulation, testing and correlation to high-volume manufacturing. He will explore how the correlation between simulated and tested and measured results builds confidence in a design process.

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