PCB Design of Gb-s Differential Lines

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 differential transmission lines will be better than single-ended lines – 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 design problems for through-hole-plate (THP) PCBs, and some solutions for maximising the signal integrity (SI) and EMC of differential transmission lines operating at all data rates up to Gb/s. It is presented in a style that can be readily understood and used by PCB designers. 

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