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High Speed Signal Propagation: Advanced Black Magic

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High Speed Signal Propagation: Advanced Black Magic


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  • Copyright 2003
  • Dimensions: 7" x 9-1/8"
  • Pages: 808
  • Edition: 1st
  • Book
  • ISBN-10: 0-13-084408-X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0-13-084408-8

Raves for Dr. Johnson's previous classic, High-Speed Digital Design!

"....one of the finest efforts to come along in the field of applied high-speed digital design because of its focus on providing tools for the whole design team bringing a high-speed product to life. For all the PCB designers and circuit designers out there, buy it; read it; keep it." -- Dan Baumgartner, Printed Circuit Design

Faster and farther: State-of-the-art signal transmission techniques

In High-Speed Signal Propagation, Howard Johnson and Martin Graham bring together state-of-the-art techniques for building digital interconnections that can transmit faster, farther, and more efficiently than ever before. Packed with new examples and never-before-published high-speed design guidance, this book offers a complete and unified theory of signal propagation for all metallic media, from cables to pcb traces to chips. Coverage includes:

  • Managing tradeoffs between speed and distance
  • Physical theory of signal impairments: skin and proximity effects, dielectric loss, surface roughness, and non-TEM mode propagation
  • Generalized frequency- and step-response models
  • Calculation of time-domain waveforms from frequency-domain transfer functions
  • Differential signaling: Edge-coupled and broadside-coupled differential pairs, bends, intra-pair skew, differential trace geometry impedance, crosstalk, and radiation
  • Inter-cabinet connections: Coax, twisted-pair, fiber, equalizers, and LAN building wiring
  • Clock distribution: Special requirements, repeaters, multi-drop clock distribution, jitter, and power filtering
  • Simulation: Frequency domain simulation methods, Spice, and IBIS

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Table of Contents

Glossary of Symbols.
1. Fundamentals.
Impedance of Linear, Time-Invariant, Lumped-Element Circuits. Power Ratios. Rules of Scaling. The Concept of Resonance. Extra for Experts: Maximal Linear System Response to a Digital Input.

2. Transmission Line Parameters.
Telegrapher's Equations. Derivation of Telegrapher's Equations. Ideal Transmission Line. DC Resistance. DC Conductance. Skin Effect. Skin-Effect Inductance. Modeling Internal Impedance. Concentric-Ring Skin-Effect Model. Proximity Effect. Surface Roughness. Dielectric Effects. Impedance in Series with the Return Path. Slow-Wave Mode On-Chip.

3. Performance Regions.
Signal Propagation Model. Hierarchy of Regions. Necessary Mathematics: Input Impedance and Transfer Function. Lumped-Element Region. RC Region. LC Region (Constant-Loss Region). Skin-Effect Region. Dielectric Loss Region. Waveguide Dispersion Region. Summary of Breakpoints Between Regions. Equivalence Principle for Transmission Media. Scaling Copper Transmission Media. Scaling Multimode Fiber-Optic Cables. Linear Equalization: Long Backplane Trace Example. Adaptive Equalization: Accelerant Networks Transceiver.

4. Frequency-Domain Modeling.
Going Nonlinear. Approximations to the Fourier Transform. Discrete Time Mapping. Other Limitations of the FFT. Normalizing the Output of an FFT Routine. Useful Fourier Transform-Pairs. Effect of Inadequate Sampling Rate. Implementation of Frequency-Domain Simulation. Embellishments. Checking the Output of Your FFT Routine.

5. Pcb (printed-circuit board) Traces.
Pcb Signal Propagation. Limits to Attainable Distance. Pcb Noise and Interference. Pcb Connectors. Modeling Vias. The Future of On-Chip Interconnections.

6. Differential Signaling.
Single-Ended Circuits. Two-Wire Circuits. Differential Signaling. Differential and Common-Mode Voltages and Currents. Differential and Common-Mode velocity. Common-Mode Balance. Common-Mode Range. Differential to Common-Mode Conversion. Differential Impedance. Pcb Configurations. Pcb Applications. Intercabinet Applications. LVDS Signaling.

7. Generic Building-Cabling Standards.
Generic Cabling Architecture. SNR Budgeting. Glossary of Cabling Terms. Preferred Cable Combinations. FAQ: Building-Cabling Practices. Crossover Wiring. Plenum-Rated Cables. Laying cables in an Uncooled Attic Space. FAQ: Older Cable Types.

8. 100-Ohm Balanced Twisted-Pair Cabling.
UTP Signal Propagation. UTP Transmission Example: 10BASE-T. UTP Noise and Interference. UTP Connectors. Issues with Screening. Category-3 UTP at Elevated Temperature.

9. 150-Ohm STP-A Cabling.
150-( STP-A Signal Propagation. 150-( STP-A Noise and Interference. 150-( STP-A: Skew. 150-( STP-A: Radiation and Safety. 150-( STP-A: Comparison with UTP. 150-( STP-A Connectors.

10. Coaxial Cabling.
Coaxial Signal Propagation. Coaxial Cable Noise and Interference. Coaxial Cable Connectors.

11. Fiber-Optic Cabling.
Making Glass Fiber. Finished Core Specifications. Cabling the Fiber. Wavelengths of Operation. Multimode Glass Fiber-Optic Cabling. Single-Mode Fiber-Optic Cabling.

12. Clock Distribution.
Extra Fries, Please. Arithmetic of Clock Skew. Clock Repeaters. Stripline vs. Microstrip Delay. Importance of Terminating Clock Lines. Effect of Clock Receiver Thresholds. Effect of Split Termination. Intentional Delay Adjustments. Driving Multiple Loads with Source Termination. Daisy-Chain Clock Distribution. The Jitters. Power Supply Filtering for Clock Sources, Repeaters, and PLL Circuits. Intentional Clock Modulation. Reduced-Voltage Signaling. Controlling Crosstalk on Clock Lines. Reducing Emissions.

13. Time-Domain Simulation Tools and Methods.
Ringing in a New Era. Signal Integrity Simulation Process. The Underlying Simulation Engine. IBIS (I/O Buffer Information Specification). IBIS: History and Future Direction. IBIS: Issues with Interpolation. IBIS: Issues with SSO Noise. Nature of EMC Work. Power and Ground Resonance.

Collected References.
Points to Remember.
Appendix A. Building a Signal Integrity Department.
Appendix B. Calculation of Loss Slope.
Appendix C. Two-Port Analysis.
Appendix D. Accuracy of Pi Model.
Appendix E. erf( ).




Welcome, and thank you for your interest in High-Speed Signal Propagation: AdvancedBlack Magic. This is an advanced-level reference text for experienced digital designers whowant to press their designs to the upper limits of speed and distance.If you need to transmit faster and further than ever before, this book is here to help.You'll find it packed with practical advice.

The material in this book has been honed during my many years of work as chieftechnical editor of standards for both Fast Ethernet and Gigabit Ethernet—projects which, Ihope, have touched your life in a favorable way. During those and many other projects, themodels and concepts described here have been of invaluable service to me. Now I'd like topass them on to you.

When you are done reading, share your knowledge with those around you as mytechnical mentor, Martin Graham, has done with me. Educate your coworkers. Educate yourmanagement. Above all, continue to educate yourself. If this book inspires you to advanceyour understanding with even one laboratory measurement, then I will know you are on theright track.

I would also like to say it has been a great pleasure teaching and working with manyof you through my classes and lectures. Above all, I appreciate those who take the time toshare with me their thoughts, their concerns, their dreams, and their problems. It alwaysinterests me to hear about real experiences from real engineers.I wish you the best of luck on your next design.

See you on the Internet,

Dr. Howard Johnson



Printed circuit traces:Limits to attainable speed and distanceRC and LC mode propagationSkin effect and dielectric loss design charts and equationsProximity effectSurface roughnessNon-TEM mode of propagationStep responseEffect of vias

Differentialsignaling:Edge-coupled and broadside-coupled differential pairsEffect of bendsIntrapair skewDifferential trace geometry impedanceCrosstalkRadiation

Inter-cabinetconnections:Coaxial cablesTwisted-pair cablesFiber opticsEqualizersGeneral building wiring for LAN applications

Clock distribution:Special requirements for clocksClock repeatersMultidrop clock distributionClock jitterPower filtering for clock sources

Simulation:Frequency-domain simulation methodApplicability of Spice and IBIS


Each chapter in this book treats a specialized topic having to do with high-speed signalpropagation. They may be studied in any order.

Chapters 1 and 2 present the underlying physical theory of various transmission-lineparameters, including the skin effect, proximity effect, dielectric loss, and surfaceroughness.

Chapter 3 develops a generalized frequency-response model common to all conductivemedia.

Chapter 4 outlines the calculation of time-domain waveforms from frequency-domaintransfer functions.

Chapters 5 through 11 discuss specific transmission media, including single-ended pcbtraces, differential media, general building wiring standards, unshielded twisted-pair wiring,150- shielded twisted-pair wiring, coaxial cables, and fiber.

Chapter 12 addresses miscellaneous issues concerning clock distribution.

Chapter 13 explores the limitations of Spice and IBIS simulation methods.


A basic understanding of the frequency domain representation of linear systems is assumed.Readers without the benefit of formal training in analog circuit theory can use and apply theformulas and examples in this book. Readers who have completed a first-year class inintroductory linear circuit theory will comprehend the material at a deeper level.


This book is a companion to the original book by Johnson and Graham, High-Speed DigitalDesign: A Handbook of Black Magic, Prentice-Hall, 1993. The two books may be usedseparately or together. They cover different material.

The original book deals with a broad spectrum of high-speed phenomena. It builds asolid understanding of ringing, crosstalk, ground bounce, and power supply noise as theyexist on printed circuit boards. It emphasizes basic circuit configurations where these effectsmay be easily understood and learned. It treats supplementary subjects including chippackages, oscilloscope probe, and power systems for high-speed digital products.

This High-Speed Signal Propagation book is more highly specialized, delving intoissues relevant to transmission at the upper limits of speed and distance. If you need totransmit faster and further than ever before, this book shows you how.

High-Speed Digital Design and High-Speed Signal Propagation together comprise agood reference set for persons working with high-speed digital technology.

Those of you familiar with my other books will recognize similarities in style.Notably, I've tried to impart, as best I can, the same sense of realism born of longexperience.


Literally thousands of people have taken the time to communicate with me about high-speedissues, either through email or in person at my seminars. These conversations have inspiredme to investigate and collect together the material in this book. To all of you, I owe a debt ofgratitude.

The following people contributed specific comments or questions that are discussed inthe text (in alphabetical order): Sal Aguinaga, James C. Bach, Eric V. Berger, RaymondBullington, Doug Butler, Tim Canales, Bruce Carsten, Code Cubitt, Dave Cuthbert, BillDaskalakis, Martin Graham, Paul Greene, Gary Griffin, Bob Haller, John Lehew, John Lin,Raymond P. Meixner, Craig Miller, Mitch Morey, Dan Nitzan, Bhavesh Patel, Dipak Patel,Jim Rautio, Ravi, Boris Shusterman, Kevin Slattery, Bob Stroupe, Bill Stutz (twice), andFabrizio Zanella. Thanks to all of you for many hours of good correspondence.

I especially thank those who volunteered for the difficult task of reviewing the text.This group of intrepid individuals spotted numerous errors and suggested many new topicsfor exploration. They deserve a large measure of credit for helping make this a more usefultext (in alphabetical order): Jacob Ben Ary at Aquanet, Greg Dermer at Easystreet, SteveEms at Lecroy, Alexandre Guterman at Nortel, Valery Kugel at Juniper, Professor WillMoore at Oxford University, Jose Moreira at Agilent, Gopa Parameswaran at Cisco, BobRoss at Mentor Graphics, Bert Simonovich at Nortel, Palani Subbiah at Cypress, and GeoffThompson at Nortel.

My editors at Prentice-Hall, Bernard Goodwin, Nicholas Radhuber, and Carol J.Lallier, have contributed their professional expertise (and patience) during the long processrequired to complete this project.

Without my dutiful and highly accurate assistant Jennifer Epps this book would nothave been possible.

All the articles adapted for publication in this book are reprinted with permission fromEDN magazine, a publication of Reed Business Information, Electronic Design Magazine, adivision of Penton Media, Inc., or PC Design Magazine, a publication of UP Media Group,Inc., as noted in the header of each article, respectively.

Bob Ross, Mentor Graphics Corp., past chair of the EIA IBIS Open Forum, wrote afine discussion about the future of IBIS modeling for Chapter 13. Bruce Archambeaultcontributed the article in Chapter 12 about reducing emissions, which I only edited. BradCole and Matt Hudale of Ansoft simulated the capacitance of many via configurations forChapter 5. To Gopa Parameswaran at Cisco, thanks for your simulations of via capacitance,although your data did not appear in the final version of the book. Steve Ems and RobertTalambiras of Lecroy piqued my interest in non-TEM modes of propagation during a visit tomy ranch in October of 2000. Roger Billings of Wideband Corporation deserves mention asthe world record-holder


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