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1.5 Historical Overview of Jitter, Noise, BER, and Signal Integrity

During the last two decades, two books were published with significant space dedicated to jitter analysis.16, 17 During that time, most communication architectures operated at a data rate of less than 1 Gb/s. Jitter was not as serious then as it is today, when most leading communication links are running at rates of 1 to 10 Gb/s.

The book by Trischitta & Varma16 in 1989 was mostly focused on the accumulated jitter in a network system and jitter related to some specific components in an optical network at the time, including regenerators, retimers, and multiplexers. The jitter handling in this book was tightly coupled with the link architecture of almost 20 years ago, so many of the concepts and theories in this book do not apply well to the serial link architectures developed after the 1990s.

The book by Takasaki17 in 1991 treated digital transmission design and jitter in the same context. This book is weighted more toward digital transmission, with only two chapters dedicated to jitter topics, covering jitter generation and accumulation. This book does discuss jitter classification in some way. The major point of Takasaki on jitter classification is that there are two types of jitter: random and systematic. However, it has no quantitative math model discussion on the jitter classification scheme. It also has no further discussion of the jitter component beyond random and systematic. The discussion of jitter accumulation is largely based on the repeater component in a network.

In the past 15 years, significant progress has been made in the field of understanding jitter, and related new theory, definition, analysis methods, and measurement tools. In particular, more rigorous definition of and theory about jitter and its associated jitter components have been developed (such as 15, 18, and 19, to name a few). Now jitter and noise component concepts have been widely accepted and adopted by many serial data communication standards. In fact, jitter and noise component concepts are required for determining the link jitter budget, for debugging and diagnostics for designing and testing most of the multiple Gb/s serial data links, and for setting standards. In addition, a generic jitter transfer function for a linear or quasi-linear system has recently been developed. Such a method can be applied to jitter analysis for most of the serial data communication links and standards 15, 20. The combination of the statistical and system transfer function elements of a link system in estimating overall jitter, noise, BER (JNB), and signal integrity (SI) performance has put the research and application in those areas on a new historical plateau.

In light of that significant progress in JNB and SI, as well as the ever-increasing importance of their roles in > 1 Gb/s serial communication links in both network and PC applications, a new book summarizing that progress—with an emphasis on the latest definitions, theories, and applications, as well as simulation modeling, measurement, and analysis technologies—is apparently greatly needed.

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