How to Automate Your High-Speed Design Process

August 30, 2016 Pierre Meyitang


Keeping track of individual segment lengths for nets, via depths, or pin lengths in a spreadsheet can be burdensome. Learn how to automate your high-speed design process with new technology in Altium Designer®.

High Speed design is one of the most challenging tasks that an electrical engineer can take on. There are any number of factors that can affect the way a high speed signal will respond. A misconception is that High Speed Design is a function of the System Clock Frequency. This is not the case. Rather, high speed is determined by Rise Time, Impedance Control with PCB Stack-up, Trace Width, and Terminations.

Faster switching speeds essentially mean two things for engineers and PCB designers:

Signal Integrity Issues

  • Reflections, crosstalk, etc.

  • Signal Integrity goals are met through controlled impedance routing, terminations, and PCB stack-up.

Timing Constraint

  • Ensures that multiple signals reach their destination pins at approximately the same time

  • Matches route lengths of signal paths

Old Methods of High-Speed Design

In the past, engineers were forced to deal with signal integrity and time constraint issues by keeping track of everything in spreadsheets. This allowed them to keep track of each individual segment length for a net, via depths, resistor lengths, and pin lengths. After adding them all up for each net, then adding signal length wherever needed, this enabled them to equalize the lengths of all the nets in the group. This is an antiquated method of length matching, which is both cumbersome and time-consuming.


What if you could automatically scope relevant design rules such as Length and Match Lengths without having to waste time tracking data in spreadsheets? Download our free High-Speed Design and xSignals® whitepaper to learn how to automate your high-speed design process.

About the Author

Pierre is the current Sales Applications Engineer for Altium’s North America region. He worked in Mechatronics Design and Fabrication at Harvard’s Wyss Institute for Bioinspired Robotics as an Electro-Mechanical Engineer. Pierre recently joined Altium’s engineering team, and continues his hobbies in design and fabrication of miniature PCBs, CNC machines, and IOS app development.

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