DesignCon 2017 had its usual focus on high-speed serial data streams, with a few twists. Here's a summary of our coverage.
DesignCon 2017 took place from January 31st through February 2nd at the usual location: the Santa Clara Convention Center. EE Times' Silicon Valley Bureau Chief Rick Merritt and I were there and posted several reports. Here's a summary of what went down.
The annual "Case of the Closed Eye" panel was held on Tuesday, January 31st. This year marked the panel's 15th edition, which focused on 400G signal integrity. The takeaway from this panel is that, while PAM4 signals have taken hold for 56-Gbps transmissions (x8 for 400G), the standards are still in development in IEEE and OIF committees. One such issue is over which test pattern to use. The photo below shows a comparison in eye diagrams using PRBS13Q (8,191 symbols) and PRBS17Q (131,071 symbols).
The "Case of the Closed Eye" panel featured a discussion on the effects of using different bit patterns for testing high-speed links. (Photo by Martin Rowe)
The technical sessions and exhibits opened the following day. At one session, attendees were treated to how Nokia Bell Labs and Teledyne LeCroy created the world's fastest PAM4 signal, running at 390 Gbps.
The eye diagram from the world's fastest PAM4 signal, operating at 390 Gbps. (Photo by Martin Rowe)
In System-in-Package Gets 100G Link, Rick Merritt reports on how the CEI-112G project — launched January 19, 2017 — could "pave the way for a new class of high-end chips that don't depend on Moore’s law for performance gains." The intent is to reduce the cost of implementing 2.5D chip stacks.
Merritt continued on page 2, reporting on how engineers from Xilinx simulated three copper links that carry 100-Gbps signals over copper wires that jump over more lossy PCB traces.
Connectors and copper wires are becoming popular for high-speed signals because they're less lossy than PCB traces. (Photo by Martin Rowe)
As with all trade shows, there were new product introductions. Tektronix introduced a BERTScope that can communicate with a device-under-test. Get the details, including a video demonstration.
The BERTScope BSX320 from Tektronix can communicate with a device-under-test using protocols such as PCIe. (Courtesy of Tektronix)
National Instruments debuted its VirtualBench that now has a 500-MHz, four-channel oscilloscope.
National Instruments announced the 500-MHz VirtualBech at DesignCon 2017. (Photo by Martin Rowe)
Rohde & Schwarz introduced a 6-GHz version of its RTO line of oscilloscopes.
Rohde & Schwarz introduced a 6-GHz RTO-series oscilloscope. (Photo by Martin Rowe)
With PAM4 being so popular at DesignCon, there were many demonstrations of new products. You can find videos on equipment from Teledyne LeCroy and Multilane in DesignCon 2017 video: Expected and unexpected products. What were the "unexpected" products? Well, you'll just have to see for yourself. While your at it, be sure to see Fun Things at DesignCon 2017.
DesignCon 2018 will take place from January 30th to Feb. 1st.
—Martin Rowe, Senior Technical Editor