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Skew Metric & BER Testing Correlation for NRZ/PAM4 Signaling

Mauro Lai (Sr. Analog Engineer, Intel Corporation)

Location: Ballroom G

Date: Thursday, January 31

Time: 10:00am - 10:45am

Track: 08. Optimizing High-Speed Serial Design

Session Type: Technical Session

Vault Recording: TBD

Audience Level: All

Methods for characterizing skew ranging from TDR to frequency domain skew are compared against SerDes BER performance for both NRZ and PAM4 signaling. A weighted frequency domain skew metric has been introduced to close the identified gaps and correlation to BER for different 56Gbaud SerDes. Key items such as signal power spectral density as well as Tx/Rx bandwidths are introduced in the skew metric estimation to allow predicting performance limiting skew limits. BER Data have been collected and correlated to skew across a range of systems with both coupled and uncoupled skew as well as various SerDes at 56Gbps. Extension to 112Gbaud signaling is discussed.


P/N skew must be carefully controlled for successful PAM4 channel design. The PAM4 receivers are significantly more sensitive to skew than NRZ receivers. Impact of skew on a PAM4 receiver cannot be fully accounted for by typical channel requirements IL and COM and therefore must be checked independently.

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