Understanding Crosstalk for Signal Integrity Applications

Although crosstalk has been around for a long time, there’s a growing interest in crosstalk as data-rates continue to increase and ICs/PCBs continue to shrink. This white paper provides an introduction to crosstalk with a specific focus on signal integrity applications offering guidelines of what to watch out for when measuring crosstalk.

Using a simple simulation we will show why crosstalk is becoming so important in high-speed digital communication and why system level tools such as bit error rate testers and oscilloscopes are not ideal for pinpointing crosstalk issues and certainly not for troubleshooting.

We will also cover the two measurement methods; time domain and frequency domain, and look at why the dynamic range of an instrument is less of a worry for signal integrity applications, while understanding measurement uncertainty is critical for obtaining repeatable measurements.

Finally, we will look more closely at Vector Network Analyzers as tool for signal integrity measurements and calibration techniques for minimizing measurement uncertainties.