Estate of the art in the design of printed circuits according to Fibernet
Interview to Miguel Ángel García, R&D Manager at Fibernet
Fibernet’s equipment and systems are technologically advanced. Among the applied technologies, which are the most remarkable?
Mainly, this kind of equipment has an advanced design regarding electronics and photonic elements. Lately, there are also two key aspects regarding the electromagnetic impact of printed circuits and the elements and design of programmable logic.
Regarding printed circuit boards, how does their design affect your products?
There are two factors that concern the design of the boards: the higher connection pad density required involves challenges in the design and manufacture of circuits with a high number of layers. Another challenge is to transport high-speed digital data signals preserving their form to prevent errors. This is called signal integrity.
But this part just interconnects components and does not make any other specific function, does it??
That is true. But sometimes it may be a limiting factor of the design performance. Likewise, its development must be in line with that of the components with a new packaging, such as BGA.
Why is this part strategic for designs?
It could limit our transmission and process capacity.
Does Fibernet manufacture these circuits?
We do not need to. In Spain there are very competent companies in this field with which we collaborate closely. Fibernet prepares the design and selects materials.
Where is this technology going?
The materials used and manufacture processes are continuously evolving in this field. However, the most radical trend is going towards the integration of complex functions on silicon, this is, the use of integrated circuits adapted to the applications.
What do you call “programmable logic circuits”?
They are components that harbor a large amount of simple-logic functional cells that may be programmed and interconnected to perform a function jointly.
In our case, we also use those equipped with circuits suitable for the speed we are processing.
How does the use of digital programmable parts improve your products?
The production of functional blocks adapted to our data transmission and processing purpose, together with the integration of all the design logical functions (microprocessor, interfaces, communications...).
Which is the possible alternative to these circuits?
So far, for these speeds, the only alternative was the use of application-specific integrated circuits (ASIC). It involved issues of availability and adaptation to the amounts required for their use.
Which are the advantages of your approach to the use of specific circuits?
We are more versatile and independent of other manufacturers. Our design cycles are shorter and their use is very well adapted to our projects and manufacture batches.
How is the design process of these elements?
First, we analyze the functions we must carry out in order to select afterwards the appropriate circuit in terms of capacity and size, as well as the processing speed.