As data rate and port densities continue to increase, system designers must choose between two extremes to meet their connectivity requirements. Fiber optical interconnects allow extended reaches, but the system solutions are very expensive and power-hungry. Copper cables offer a low-power solution, but the thickness, weight and attenuation limit port counts. At line rates greater than 10 Gbps, passive copper cabling cannot support links over more than a few meters. Renesas' signal integrity products with Q-Active technology provide a 300% reach extension over passive copper solutions, and consume 80% less power than competing optical solutions.

With the increasing demand for higher quality video, Ultra-HD (UHD 4K) is becoming more popular and the emerging 8K video is right behind it. Video interface technology is changing to adopt the speed required for higher resolutions, color depth and refresh rates. The transition from analog video to digital video using a high-speed serial interface (e.g., HDMI, DisplayPort, LVDS, and MHL) accommodates this large data transfer. USB 3.1 Type-C combines audio, video and bidirectional data transfer and power delivery, and is becoming a widely adopted interconnect between mobile devices, personal computers, cameras, monitors, and more. Renesas' redriver ICs with analog equalizers are the perfect solution for VESA DisplayPort v1.3 (8.1 Gbps) USB-C long active cables.

Additionally, with the increase of signal speeds in the computing, storage and communications applications, system designers face greater signal integrity challenges. The signal integrity product portfolio from Renesas provides signal conditioning devices for popular multi-gigabit per second IO protocols, delivering signal quality over extended distances while offering simplified design by alleviating board layout constraints.

Benefits of Renesas signal conditioners:

  • Extend maximum cable length to over 10 meters and trace length over 65 inches in cabled applications
  • Speeds up system design time by allowing usage of longer trace and cable lengths
  • Minimizes bit error rate (BER)

Download: IDT Signal Integrity Products Overview (PDF)

The Signal Integrity Challenge

High-speed signals can deteriorate to unacceptable levels by the time they reach end receivers, due to transmitter, receiver, and channel characteristics. Renesas' signal repeaters (signal conditioners) are specifically designed to resolve these issues and to ensure minimized jitter and maximized eye opening at the target receiver by compensating for cable and PCB trace attenuation and ISI jitter. This is accomplished by boosting the transmitted signal, by equalizing the received signal, or by doing both when either option by itself is not sufficient due to channel length or due to discontinuities generated by vias and connectors. In addition, Renesas retimers minimize random jitter, further increasing signal quality.

Renesas Signal Repeater ICs (Signal Conditioners)

The Renesas SIP family of signal repeater ICs includes support for: 5 Gbps PCI Express® (PCIe) Gen2, USB 3.0, 6 Gbps SAS/SATA; 6.25 Gbps Serial RapidIO® 2.1, and other standards for computing, storage and communications applications. Signal conditioning devices incorporate advanced receive equalization and transmit de-emphasis capabilities, as well as diagnostic features that help Renesas customers achieve a simplified design with faster time to market. Specifically, the devices drive long on-board traces, backplane traces and cables to external devices to ensure optimum system performance. In addition, Renesas' signal repeater ICs include loss of signal (LOS) detection and individual channel loopback diagnostic capabilities as well as 2:1 mux/demux functions. Devices support 2, 4 or 8 differential channels, configurable via I2C, control pins, or EEPROM. The repeater ICs offer power-saving modes for the lowest possible power consumption.

Renesas Signal Conditioning Retimers

Renesas retimers are the industry’s first signal conditioning parts fully compliant with the PCIe 3.0 specification. They are compliant to the PCIe Automatic Link Equalization procedure, easing system design and enhancing reliability with any PCIe-compliant expansion card or host bus adapter. The signal conditioners are designed to improve signal integrity and to more than double maximum PCB trace and cable lengths. These devices minimize both random and deterministic jitter from the input signal before transmitting it out to target devices.

Renesas repeaters and retimers are ideal for solving signal integrity problems in blade servers, enterprise storage, communication systems, and cloud computing.