High-Speed PCB Design Guides


Learn the essentials and advanced topics in high-speed PCB design.


Resources for High-Speed PCB Designers

High speed printed circuit board design involves the creation of PCBs that can support high speed signaling and data transmission. These PCBs are used in a variety of applications, including telecommunications, data centers, and high performance computing systems. High speed PCB design requires a careful balance of electrical and mechanical considerations to ensure that the PCB can support the required data rates and signaling levels, while also meeting other performance and reliability requirements.

There are several key considerations in high speed PCB design, including:

  • Signal integrity - Signal integrity refers to the ability of a signal to maintain its integrity as it travels through a circuit. In high speed PCB design, this is critical to ensure that the data can be transmitted accurately and reliably at high speeds. There are several factors that can affect signal integrity, including signal crosstalk, noise, reflections, and impedance mismatches.
  • Trace routing - Trace routing refers to the layout of the copper traces on a PCB that carry the signals. In high speed PCB design, the trace routing must be carefully planned to minimize signal loss, crosstalk, and other types of interference. This often involves using specialized routing techniques, such as controlled impedance routing, to ensure that the trace characteristics match the signal requirements.
  • Power and ground plane design - The power and ground planes on a PCB play a critical role in high speed design, as they provide a return path for the signals and help to reduce noise and interference. In high speed PCB design, it is important to carefully design the power and ground planes to ensure that they can support the required current and voltage levels, and to minimize noise and crosstalk.
  • Material selection - The choice of PCB materials can have a significant impact on high speed performance. For example, the dielectric constant of the PCB material can affect the signal propagation speed and impedance, while the thickness of the PCB can affect the signal loss and crosstalk. In high speed PCB design, it is important to carefully select materials that meet the required performance and reliability requirements.
  • Package parasitics - The package parasitics of a high speed component, such as a microprocessor or memory module, can have a significant impact on the overall performance of the circuit. These parasitics include the inductance and capacitance of the package leads and the package-to-PCB interconnects, which can affect the signal integrity and power delivery of the circuit. In high speed PCB design, it is important to carefully consider the package parasitics and to use appropriate layout techniques to minimize their impact.

To help designers better understand the challenges involved in high-speed PCB design and routing, we have compiled a set of free resources from our blog. Feel free to browse and contact us to begin your next high-speed PCB design.

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The Impact of Copper Roughness on Signal Integrity in PCBs

By ZM Peterson • May 22, 2024

Discover how copper roughness affects signal integrity in PCBs, influencing factors like skin effect losses and dielectric constant.

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How Your Transmission Line Functions as a Low-Pass Filter

By ZM Peterson • May 14, 2024

Transmission lines in a PCB exhibit low-pass filter behavior due to transmission line losses and load capacitance.

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Do High-Speed PCB Transmission Lines Need Stitching Vias?

By ZM Peterson • Apr 22, 2024

Digital transmission lines in a high-speed PCB do not require stitching vias, but they do have important uses.

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Which Designs Need Rogers PCB Materials?

By ZM Peterson • Oct 22, 2022

Learn about Rogers PCBs and whether you need these materials in your layer stack.

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PCB Design for FPGA SoMs and Carrier Boards

By ZM Peterson • Sep 16, 2022

Learn about the design challenges and processes in PCB design for an FPGA SoM and its carrier board.

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Differential Crosstalk in High-Speed PCB Design

By ZM Peterson • Jul 15, 2022

Differential crosstalk can occur in high-speed PCBs, creating noise coupling between interconnects.

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How To Run a PCB Impedance Calculation Without a Field Solver

By ZM Peterson • Apr 2, 2022

This is how you perform PCB impedance calculations without 3D full-wave field solvers.

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Secrets of Differential Pair Routing in High-Speed PCB Design

By ZM Peterson • Feb 8, 2022

We examine some guidelines and best practices in differential pair routing in this article.

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Microstrip vs. Stripline, Surface vs. Internal: Which is Better?

By ZM Peterson • Mar 31, 2021

Learn more about the difference between microstrip vs. stripline in your PCB and when it’s best to use each.

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PAM-4 Layout and Routing Challenges for PCB Designers

By ZM Peterson • Feb 5, 2021

Learn all about designing with PAM-4 signals and components in your high speed PCB layout and embedded systems.

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Understanding Transmission Line Input Impedance and S11

By ZM Peterson • Jan 6, 2021

Learn how to calculate transmission line input impedance and how it relates back to S11, reflection coefficients, and return loss.

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The Fundamentals of High Speed Backplane Design

By ZM Peterson • Dec 23, 2020

Read our guide to learn more about high speed backplane design for aerospace and defense electronics.

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How Low are Dielectric Losses in Microstrip Lines?

By ZM Peterson • Aug 13, 2020

We've compiled everything you need to know about condutor losses and dielectric losses in microstrip lines.

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Your Guide to High Speed Signal Integrity in PCBs

By ZM Peterson • Jun 30, 2020

Read our guide if you want to learn about high speed signal integrity in your PCB layout.

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BGA Escape Routing with Impedance Control in HDI PCBs

By ZM Peterson • Jun 25, 2020

Here’s how to ensure impedance control during BGA escape routing in your HDI PCB.

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What is the Fiber Weave Effect in a PCB Substrate?

By ZM Peterson • May 27, 2020

The fiber weave effect is known to cause skew, but it causes other signal integrity problems as well.

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Guide to PCB Trace Length Matching in High Speed Design

By ZM Peterson • Apr 8, 2020

Here’s your guide to PCB trace length matching in high speed design.

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Low-Dk PCB Material Advantages and Disadvantages

By ZM Peterson • Mar 27, 2020

Low-Dk PCB material substrates have some advantages and disadvantages. Here’s what you need to know when selecting a PCB substrate material.

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Transmission Line Dispersion and Losses in Your High Speed PCB

By ZM Peterson • Feb 24, 2020

Here’s what you need to know about transmission line dispersion and managing losses in your next PCB.

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The Best High Speed Board Design Guidelines

By ZM Peterson • Feb 17, 2020

We've compiled the best high speed board design guidelines for advanced digital circuit boards and mixed-signal systems.

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Optimizing PCB Trace Width for Low Inductance and Current Requirements

By ZM Peterson • Dec 19, 2019

Here's how to optimize PCB trace width for impedance control.

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SerDes Design: Physical Channels and Signaling

By ZM Peterson • Dec 1, 2019

SerDes design brings multiple signal integrity problems to high speed designs.

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