Bill Hargin

Trace separation; length parallelism; stackup: Does one stand out?

It’s been some time since I’ve seen an article on crosstalk, so I decided to take the opportunity to walk through the subject in a soup-to-nuts overview for those in the PCB design community who may be interested in why crosstalk-savvy PCB designers and hardware engineers use various design rules for controlling crosstalk. In the process of doing so, we’ll identify which design tweaks provide the most leverage for controlling far-end crosstalk.

Crosstalk is unwanted noise generated between signals. It occurs when two or more nets on a PCB are coupled to each other electromagnetically, (even though conductively they are not connected at all). Such coupling can arise any time two nets run next to each other for any significant length. When a signal is driven on one of the lines, the electric and magnetic fields it generates cause an unexpected signal to also appear on the nearby line, as shown in FIGURE 1.

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