Two-Day Signal Integrity and High Speed System Design Course

This comprehensive two-day course from High Speed Design´s “Ratchet Man” covers all key aspects of the high speed design process. If you can take only one course on this subject, this is the one for you.

Practical and Comprehensive

This highly practical course is designed to take the student through the entire process involved in designing and fabricating high speed PCBs. It begins with the fundamentals of electromagnetic fields and the behavior of transmission lines that are the basis for all high-speed signaling. From there, it examines all of the aspects of high-speed design leading to the development of a robust set of PCB design rules that accounts for power subsystem design, routing rules and design of PCB stack-ups as well as the fabrication rules needed to balance performance against cost and manufacturability.

The materials and examples used in this course are drawn from actual designs of high speed systems in current manufacture. These examples range from video games to terabit routers and cover the complete range of designs. The design process presented is based on many years of completing designs that are “right the first time”. Students are shown many ways to improve their design process so that designs meet this objective. Reliable methods for controlling and containing EMI will also be thoroughly covered.

This course places special emphasis on very high speed differential signaling protocols such as XAUI, Hypertransport, PCI Express, Infiniband, SATA, SSCSI and others that are the backbone of modern computing. Actual circuits are built and tested and then modeled to correlate modeling techniques. The topic of how to design power delivery systems capable of supporting these protocols is also addressed.

Major Topics

Day One

  • Review Transmission Line Fundamentals
  • Calculating Impedance
  • Terminations
  • PCB Structures—right angle bends, vias, plane cuts
  • Cross talk
  • Differential Signalling
  • IC Package Characteristics
  • Power Delivery System Design

Day Two

  • Design Rule Creation
  • PCB Design Process
  • PCB Design Tools
  • Designing a PCB Stackup
  • EMI Containment
  • Developing Routing Rules
  • Post Layout Checking
  • Testing Fabricated PCBs
  • What Happens When Signals Get Very Fast
  • PCB Fabrication
  • PCB Materials
  • Designing PCB Pad Stacks
  • Blind and Buried Vias

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Who should take this course

This course is designed for all the participants in the design and fabrication process. Among those who will find it valuable are:

  • Design engineers
  • System architects
  • EMC specialists
  • Signal integrity engineers
  • Technicians
  • PCB layout professionals
  • Applications engineers
  • IC designers
  • IC package designers
  • Test engineers
  • Project engineers
  • Design managers
  • Engineering managers

Why Take This Course

Electronic designs of all kinds are operating with increasingly faster clock rates and rise times. At the same time, the pressure to complete designs in fewer design cycles is putting pressure on design teams to deliver designs to manufacturing that are “right the first time”. In order to account for the normal variations in component edge rates, propagation delay variations, amplifier gains, logic levels and variations in the PCB fabrication process, it is necessary to invoke the use of design tools and methods that allow “preroute” analysis to insure the final product is designed correctly. With the speeds of signals and components rising into the gigahertz range, relying on the traditional bread boarding or hardware prototyping process often results in a product never making it to market.

This increase in component speed has made it necessary for all design engineers to master the design techniques that were once only the province of super computer engineers. This course relies heavily on the proven methods developed for supercomputers and terabit routers. It also draws on experience with disc drives and high performance video games.

Problems Addressed in This Course:

  • Failures from crosstalk and reflections
  • Problems related to time delays in PCB traces
  • EMI failures
  • Failures stemming from poor power system design
  • Failures related to poor IC package design

High Speed PCB and System Design is available as a private, on-site course and offered several times a year as a public course through Speeding Edge. To learn more about these public courses, please refer to the individual class registration forms and also the course calendar. The on-site course is offered to companies that may have several students needing the course or with a need that is more urgent than can be satisfied by the public courses. For information regarding on-site courses, please contact Speeding Edge at To determine if one of public courses will meet your needs and for enrollment information, please refer to the section on course registration at the Speeding Edge website,

Contact Us

To learn more about this course and to schedule as an on-site class at your facility, please contact us by e-mail at or by telephone at 707-568-3983.