Start Your High Speed PCB Design with a Plan
Without a plan and a strategy for your high speed PCB design project, you’ll likely encounter setbacks, respins, and unexpected issues. So before ever laying down a symbol or connecting a net, you need some kind of a checklist in hand of what lays ahead.
Here are some of the questions that you should ask yourself before PCB design:
System organization – Do I have a visual diagram that will help me to visualize how all of my sub-circuits interconnect and a well-established return current?
Signal speed – Do I know the highest frequency and fastest rise time of each of my signals?
Power supply – Have I documented every one of my voltage and power requirement for all of my ICs, and will I need to split any power planes?
Sensitive signals – Do I have a plan to meet my requirements for differential signals, controlled impedance, and trace length or propagation?
These are not the only questions you’ll need to ask yourself during the planning stage, but they’ll get you started. You’ll also likely need to work with your PCB manufacturer to understand their minimum tolerance requirements. And you’ll need to consider developing a strategy to reduce the level of noise on your high speed signals with a variety of routing methods including microstrip or stripline traces.