PCB Design of Gb-s Differential Lines, July 2006

Differential transmission lines are becoming very common on printed circuit boards (PCBs), for carrying serial data at Gigabit/second (Gb/s) rates. It is usually assumed that the electromagnetic compatibility (EMC) of such transmission lines will be better than the single-ended lines they replace – but in fact their EMC can easily be degraded by typical PCB design and routing techniques – to the point where it can be little better than that of single-ended lines. This paper presents an overview of the PCB design problems and their solutions for maximising the EMC of differential transmission lines operating at all data rates up to Gb/s. No new work is presented, but the references are very recent and this paper presents the techniques all in one place, in a style that can be understood and used by PCB designers.

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