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Introduction of High-Speed PCB
With the birth of PCB in the 1950s, the development has changed with each passing day, and various types have been extended from the original single panel. With the rapid development of science and technology, electronic devices are also evolving gradually. With more and more functions, devices are becoming more and more accurate.
PCB supporting functions are also evolving constantly, especially with the application of high-precision and high-frequency products, such as satellites, modern automotive, and other industrial and military electronic products with higher and higher requirements for PCB and components.
To meet the needs of these demanding products, high-speed PCB and high-frequency printed circuit boards in the PCB field appear at this time, with higher quality and accuracy, greater manufacturing difficulty, and higher material requirements.
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What’s the High-Speed Printed Circuit Board?
The Development Prospects of high speed PCB
- From the 1G network in the 1980s to the 5G network in the 21st century, with the development of decades, the former 1G-4G network still stays in the connection between people and has unconsciously evolved into the 5G era of the interconnection of all things.
- The level of science and technology around us is growing and changing rapidly, so the demand for hardware is also getting higher and higher. The once single panel can no longer meet the current needs of some products, so the HDI printed circuit board was born.
- Among them, the high-frequency board plays an important role in many important aspects, which is convenient for our life, especially in radar products / automotive products/satellite products, and other high-frequency and high-speed products. The former plates are no longer suitable for these high-frequency products because their plates belong to copper-clad laminates.
- The disadvantage is that the transmission loss is too large. If they are used in high-frequency products, it will affect the transmission quality of signals, so they are not commonly used in this field.
- Therefore, in today’s 5G era, facing these high-frequency and high-speed products, we need to choose the PCB substrate, which is the top priority. Therefore, we should choose a lightweight, reliable quality, which can meet the needs of high-frequency and high-speed, and integrated, and the size should not be too large.
- First of all, the requirements for resin materials are very high in all aspects. First of all, the thermal conductivity of the materials should be high, and the most important dielectric loss and dielectric constant should also be low.
- Therefore, after copper-clad laminate, now the main application material for high-frequency and high-speed products is hard copper-clad laminate (Based on PTFE and PCH) because it meets the above requirements, The most important thing is that its extremely low dielectric loss and dielectric constant greatly meet the high-frequency and high-speed signal transmission.
- In addition, it has some advantages in low expansion coefficient and thermal conductivity. Therefore, most products now choose this material as the main substrate to manufacture high-speed and high-frequency boards. Besides PTFE and PCH as base materials, with the further development of communication technology, including the development of high-frequency high-speed boards, the development goal is approaching plasticity and lower dielectric constant and dielectric loss.
The Properties of high frequency & high speed PCB Materials
As mentioned before, the characteristic of high-frequency products is that they have high requirements for transmission speed, stability, and loss. Therefore, for the materials of high-frequency products, the most important characteristic is the dielectric constant. The classification of main material grades is also closely related to this.
According to the dielectric constant of materials, the classification of grades can roughly replace each other with the same dielectric constant, which is also the main classification standard. In addition, another watershed of high-frequency materials is polytetrafluoroethylene, which is also an important material of high-frequency products.
Generally, products are divided into two types according to their RF. One is products larger than 25ghz, such as high-end satellite products, radar products, etc. The other is hell 7GHz products, such as some calibrators and detectors in industry. In addition, another watershed of high-frequency materials is polytetrafluoroethylene, which is also an important material of high-frequency products.
Physical Design of High-Speed Printed Circuit Boards
Compared with the commonly used PCB, the design difficulty of the high-speed printed circuit board is more difficult. We should carefully consider the transmission line of the signal, the layout, and the impedance of components and other elements.
The most important thing in the high-frequency printed circuit board is the problem of signal transmission. Therefore, to reduce the mutual interference between circuits, multilayer printed circuit boards are usually selected to complete the partial placement of signals.
Selecting the appropriate number of layers can not only reduce the mutual interference between circuits, but also increase the transmission speed of signals, shorten the transmission distance of signals, and greatly reduce the cross interference of signals. This is one of the reasons why high-speed printed circuit boards usually take the form of multi-layer boards.
Although the mutual vertical direction can relatively reduce the interference between signals, it is still necessary to try to avoid adverse factors such as interference caused by the adjacent signal layers when stacking.
All the above high speed PCB design guidelines should be strictly followed. So experienced high speed PCB designers are needed once you need a high speed PCB layout and production.
In addition, according to Viasion‘s experience, when designing the circuit of the high-speed signal circuit, the pin lead of high-speed circuit components must not be too long, and the shorter the better, because if the length of the circuit is too long, a series of bad factors will occur in the high-speed circuit system, such as mutual reflection, etc.
According to the Viasion’s experience, for shortening the leads between the pins of high-speed circuit components, when we do the high speed PCB wiring, the less the lead layer alternation between the pins of high-speed circuit components, it would be better than the fewer vias used in the process of component connection.
Generally speaking, too many vias will significantly increase the delay of the circuit. The best arrangement of lines is parallel arrangement, avoiding crossing and line bending, which can reduce the cross-interference, reflected radiation, and other adverse factors between each other as much as possible.
In particular, it is best to try to keep the two adjacent signals perpendicular to each other to avoid crossing and getting too close, to further ensure the stability of the signal transmission in high speed PCB design.
If we encounter particularly important components in the layout of high speed PCB, we have a way to protect them. According to Viaion’s long working experience in high speed PCB design and high-speed printed circuit board fabrication, we usually use ground wire to surround the important module to achieve the purpose of protecting it, as shown in the image below.
As for why we should surround the key components with ground wires, as mentioned before, the lines should avoid bending and twisting, and we should use the lines of 45 degrees and 90 degrees of straight lines or right angles as far as possible, otherwise the stability of the lines will be greatly affected and mutual interference will occur.
Therefore, when wiring in high speed PCB design, we should surround the key components with ground wires to play a protective role. Avoid forming a loop at the end.
Some parts of the circuit need special processing. For example, according to Viaion’s high speed PCB manufacturing experience, the differential signal should be kept in the same layer, and to ensure the stability of the signal, they should not insert any other signal between them. And remember that the digital ground wire should be connected to the common ground wire with a high-frequency choke link, join the picture for reference.
Finally, after completing the above design steps and points needing attention, Viasion usually arranges the high-frequency signal line between the power supply and the ground wire, which can greatly reduce the radiation.
High-Speed PCB Design Guide
As happens around us, with the progress of science and technology, the requirements for electronic equipment are getting higher and higher.
Specifically, the electronic products around us have smaller and smaller requirements for size and more and more functions, which leads to more and more stringent requirements for high speed PCB size design in terms of PCB design including more dense components, more dense lines, and more high-speed transmission components. These requirements have greatly increased the difficulty of design. In addition to the selection and layout of components, wiring is also the most important link. The following are the design process and steps.
The first thing to be confirmed in high speed PCB design is the number and size of PCB layers and whether BGA originals are used. These are closely related to the stack up and wiring behind. Confirming the size and number of layers of the PCB also facilitates the confirmation of the stack-up structure and the preset width of the line. Secondly, the number of layers of PCB will also directly affect the impedance of the stack up. Therefore, confirming the number and size of layers also indirectly affects stack up. Since the development of high speed PCB, it seems that the more layers, the higher the price. But with the development of the PCB industry, the price between multilayer printed circuit boards is not simply affected by layers. There are a lot of other elements.
According to Viasion’s design experience, some reservations will be made in the high speed PCB design, and a relatively large number of layers will be used to design, to prevent the sudden functional failure to meet the expectations after the completion of the design and the need to add new layers, to avoid unnecessary trouble.
Finally, adjust the layout of components and circuits to achieve a more beautiful component layout. A successful design is functional and pleasing in appearance.
The above is some content about the high-speed version. It is undeniable that with the development of science and technology, there is an increasingly greater impact on our lives, and the relative technical requirements for science and technology will be higher and higher. The high-speed printed circuit board is also such an existence that is developing continuously.
Viasion is also experienced in manufacturing the high-speed board. We hope to establish a good cooperative relationship with you one day in the future.
About Viasion: an Experienced High-Speed PCB Manufacturing Company
Viasion has been focusing on PCB manufacturing for 16 years and has established an influential position in the industry. We also have outstanding technical and experience advantages in the field of high speed PCB manufacturing. We can provide customers with one-stop solutions for high-speed PCB manufacturing to meet their needs. Seeking high-speed PCB manufacturing service in Viasion is a good choice, considering our company’s advantages.
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Frequently Asked Questions
We call a PCB with a signal transmission frequency above 1GHz a high-speed printed circuit board.
To improve the signal frequency and solve the EMI problem of electronic products, high-speed PCBs were manufactured. After the design of the high-speed PCB gained great success, its contribution to EMI is increasingly important. Almost 60% of EMI problems can be solved by high-speed PCBs.
Materials with heat resistance, mechanical toughness, and good (reliability)
Materials with stable Dk /Df parameters (small coefficient of variation with frequency and environment)
Materials with good impedance control
Materials with low roughness of the copper foil surface
Choosing glass fiber cloth with small flat openings is recommended.
Nowadays, the renewal of electronic products is accelerated, and a new generation of electronic products is developing towards the direction of miniaturization, lightweight, and multi-function, which means that the high-speed PCB needs to be promoted for high performance to adapt to the characteristics of electronic products.
Good impedance of high-speed PCB can ensure the effective transmission of information, guarantee the stability of the final product properties, and realize the complex function. High-performance products generate more heat, so high-speed PCBs with good heat dissipation performance are needed to reduce the temperature of products.
Several tips on designing a high-speed PCB are described below.
1) Use design software with advanced options
Engineers need to know the design software that can provide advanced options. Software tools require a lot of sophisticated features to be able to design high-speed PCBs in CAD software. You need to have a better understanding of powerful CAD tools.
2) High-speed routing
When it comes to high-speed routing, designers need to understand the rules of basic routing, including not cutting off ground layers and keeping the routing short. Therefore, please prevent crosstalk over a certain distance on digital lines and shield all factors which may generate interference for the signal integrity.
3) Routing with impedance control
For some signals of about 40-120 ohms, they need impedance matching. The characteristic impedance matching is revealed by antennas and many differential pairs.
Designers need to understand how to calculate the width of the routing and the necessary stack-up of the impedance value. If the impedance value is not correct, it may have a serious impact on the signal, which can lead to data corruption.
4) Traces with length matching
There are many lines in the high-speed memory bus and interface bus. These lines can operate at very high frequencies, so the signal should be transmitted simultaneously from the sender to the receiver. In addition, it requires a feature called length matching. Therefore, the most common standards define the tolerance values that need to be matched to the length.
5) Minimize the area of the current return circuit
High-speed PCB designers need to follow basic rules, such as designing a continuous ground layer and reducing the area of the current return circuit by optimizing the current return path of the routing, as well as placing many stitched vias.
High-speed PCB design skills are mastered, which ensures signal integrity.
The materials of high-speed PCBs are properly selected to ensure the performance of the signal transmission.
Production control is performed. The main control points during the production are the width of circuits, layer spacing, vias plated with copper, the copper thickness of circuits, the thickness of the solder mask, etc.
The following factors will affect the cost of high-speed PCBs.
Material (the substrate material, the thickness of the substrate, the copper thickness)
The manufacturing equipment used
Difficulty of production
The chosen packaging method
The chosen delivery method
High-speed PCB design is a relatively complex process that requires full consideration of signals, impedance, transmission lines, and many other technical elements. The following technical points can provide some reference.
Use multi-layers for routing reasonably.
The shorter the lead between the pins of high-speed circuit devices, the better.
Implement ground surrounds for particularly important signal lines or local units.
High-frequency signal line placed on the surface layer is prone to produce larger electromagnetic radiation. The high-frequency signal line should be placed between the power layer and the ground layer. The radiation generated will be much less due to the absorption of electromagnetic waves by the power layer and the bottom layer.
Usually, almost all types of components can be mounted on a high-speed PCB. There are no specified requirements for components that can be mounted on high-speed PCB. Which components to be mounted is determined by the customer’s requirements and the characteristics of the electronic products.
For a standard PCB, people are mainly concerned about the short circuit, insulation, and other issues of the metal wire. However, with the pursuit of high performance of electronic products, the signal transmission frequency needs to be increased and people are more concerned about the signal integrity design of high-speed PCB.
Special considerations lie in the high-speed PCB design and production when handling high-speed PCBs.
The length of the differential routing should be matched.
The routing should not cross incomplete ground planes.
Do not place test points on any differential high-speed signal lines.
Do not route high-speed signal lines near or below crystals, oscillators, switching power supplies, mounting holes, magnetic devices, or periodic signal chips.
Try to route high-speed signal lines on the top and bottom layers with a full reference ground layer. It is not recommended to route the lines on the inner plane.
Keep the distance from the high-speed signal to the edge of the reference ground layer more than 90mil.
Pay attention to the handling of socket and connector wiring.
Coppe trace width, space, and layup structure must be precisely controlled to meet the tight impedance value.
TDR impedance tests are usually needed when high-speed PCBs are finished.
Proper material types should be chosen to meet the desired functions.
A flat surface finish is needed for high-speed PCBs, and we always advise ENIG for ENEPIG surface treatment.
The theoretical maximum data transfer rate achievable on a high-speed PCB is 10.0GPs (Gigabits per second) by far, but this is improving continisouly.
There are required PCB design software tools and EDA simulation tools used when designing a high-speed PCB such as Cadence, Mentor, PADS, Altium, HyperLynx, HFSS, ADS, etc.
It is worth noting that one software tool may be suitable for one PCB project, while another software tool can be better used for other types of projects. Therefore, it is very important to find the right PCB design software tool.
High speed material can be FR4, ceramic, PTFE or PTFE reinforced material with 1 Ghz to 100 Ghz. There are several famous high speed PCB materials suppliers such as: Rogers, ISOLA, Ventec, ITEQ, TUC, SHENGYI,Panasonic, Taconic, etc.
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