What Makes a Design "High Speed"?

High speed PCB design is one of those topics that is now at the forefront of electronics design and layout. In the past, high speed PCB design was something unique, and the tasks involved in creating a high speed PCB weren’t used in many other systems. Today, most designs that include digital components and circuits would be considered to operate at high speeds. This means that these components and circuits are prone to signal integrity problems if layout and placement are not done properly.

The first thing to understand about high speed design and high speed signals is that there is one important parameter that governs signal integrity: the signal’s rise time. This value will determine when termination is needed on PCB traces, how a signal can induce crosstalk in a design, and more advanced signal integrity problems that are beyond the scope of this course.

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