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Automated Compliance Checking
With detailed post-layout interconnect in place, and the IBIS-AMI models properly executing, attention can turn to compliance checking for the specific interface of interest, which is PCI Express Gen 4 in our example.
Each interface has some of its own specific criteria to be met. In this case, the PCI Express specification identifies a number of eye-related time domain criteria, frequency domain criteria for the passive interconnect channel, and also the ability to meet a specific jitter tolerance mask.
It can be very time-consuming to evaluate each of these criteria individually, especially if multiple runs are required to sweep corners and multiple channel models. Automated compliance kits for popular serial link standards are often available with simulation tools that can help dramatically speed up your compliance checking and accelerate your time to signoff.
Figure 16 – PCI Express compliance checks
Automated sweeping of critical parameters and flagging of compliance failures enables better coverage of your serial link design, and helps to pinpoint any remaining areas of concern.
Figure 17 – PCI Express compliance results
The other major benefit to using compliance kits is the ability to leverage the associated templates in the pre-layout stage. As discussed earlier, it is critical to get an early testbench built for feasibility trade-offs. But it is common to lack realistic models for some of the necessary blocks at this stage, and sometimes “placeholder” models need to be used. The templates supplied with automated compliance kits will typically come pre-populated with realistic topologies and models, including spec-level models of the SerDes IBIS-AMI models for the transmitter and receiver, built to the reference parameters described in the specification for that particular standard. These templates, and the models associated with them, provide an excellent starting point for your pre-layout testbench development, help minimize the time needed to get up and running, and alleviate the need to start completely from scratch.
This concludes this 8-part blog series on “SI Methodology for Multi-Gigabit Serial Link Interfaces”. Previous blog segments in this series focused on:
Serial link interfaces with double-digit multi-gigabit data rates have their own unique design challenges. A top-down analysis methodology, starting in the pre-design stage, is a valuable approach to mitigating the associated risks, and avoiding costly and time-consuming re-spins. The fruit of this labor is the wiring rules needed for constraint-driven physical layout. Special care needs to be taken with via structures to control insertion and return losses, and a method with which to enforce known good via structures into layout is essential. IBIS-AMI models are required to represent the adaptive equalization and backchannel functionality seen at these data rates, and can be quickly built to specification if needed. “Cut & stitch” approaches allow full wave accuracy to be deployed where needed for post-layout interconnect extraction, while avoiding the computational penalty of end-to-end full wave 3D extraction. Automated compliance kits can provide acceleration to confident serial link design signoff, while also providing valuable starting points for the pre-layout analysis stage.
Ken Willis is a Product Engineering Architect focusing on SI solutions at Cadence Design Systems. He has nearly 30 years of experience in the modeling, analysis, design, and fabrication of high-speed digital circuits. Prior to Cadence, Ken held engineering, technical marketing, and management positions with the Tyco Printed Circuit Group, Compaq Computers, Sirocco Systems, Sycamore Networks, and Sigrity.
More about Signal Integrity:
How to Address the Challenges of Serial Link Design and Analysis
Why SerDes Signaling Is Trending Towards PAM Encoded Signals
How to Build an IBIS-AMI Model (Video)