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December 2012
Routing and Placement: There are almost as many placement and routing methods as there are PCB designers. If you're in a routing rut, this issue of The PCB Design Magazine has the solution!
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November 2012
Welcome to the premier issue of The PCB Design Magazine! The first edition of this one-of-a-kind magazine explores high-speed design issues with feature articles by Lee Ritchey, Happy Holden, and John Levreault.
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December 2013
This month, our experts take an in-depth look at power integrity analysis, and they address many common PI challenges and solutions. Don’t fight the power—control it!
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November 2013

There are plenty of good fabricators vying for your business. How do you determine the best for your needs? Our expert contributors discuss the best methods for qualifying your next fabricator.

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October 2013
In the rush of meeting deadlines, it’s easy for PCB designers and design engineers to overlook issues related to assembly. This month, our veteran contributors cover the whole process and offer valuable tips!
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September 2013
Madonna was right: It’s a material world! This month, we explore the latest and greatest PCB materials and processes with articles from Sanmina, Ohmega Technologies, PWB Inc., Rogers Corporation, and more.
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August 2013

It’s not a question of if you’ll encounter signal integrity problems, it’s a question of when. The industry’s top SI experts weigh in with the latest tips, tricks and techniques for achieving signal integrity.

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July 2013

We have become a “design for” industry: Design for manufacturing, design for test, design for assembly, ad infinitum. In this issue, we explain how proper DFP techniques affect the bottom line.

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June 2013
Flexible Circuits: Once considered too costly for most applications, flex circuits can now be found in everything from printers to digital cameras. In our June issue flex contributors offer a variety of flex design tips and techniques.
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May 2013
HDI: It's a Small World Afterall!
How does the ever-advancing HDI technology affect the job of the PCB designer? In the May issue our contributors lay out the best ways for designers to "get small."
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April 2013
EMI & EMC: This month, we tackle the challenges of achieving EMC, and discuss some proven methods for minimizing EMI transmissions.
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March 2013
DFM: This month, our expert contributors discuss many of the DFM challenges they see with incoming PCB designs, and present a variety of options for ensuring manufacturability.
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February 2013

This month, our veteran contributors discuss a variety of simulation techniques that can help you save time and avoid costly re-spins.

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January 2013
Data Transfer Formats: Sure, most designs are still output in Gerber, but ODB++ and IPC-2581 are gaining ground. What are the pros and cons of these three formats? We examine these formats in depth.
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October 2014
Gone are the days when signal integrity was just a problem for the EE; if you don’t already have signal integrity problems, you certainly will. Yuriy Shlepnev and Barry Olney offer some of the latest SI tips, tricks and techniques for achieving signal integrity.
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September 2014
For years, designers used Gerber, and that was that. Then came ODB++, and the race was on. Contributors Karel Tavernier, Julian Coates, Amit Bahl, and Hemant Shah update us on the latest in data transfer formats.
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August 2014
Every material poses a different challenge to PCB designers trying to stay ahead of the technology curve. This month, our expert contributors explain how to make the best choices in this material world.
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July 2014
More and more PCB designers are members, or leaders, of design teams, some located across a variety of geographic regions. Our experts explain the benefits of concurrent design and how to implement team design.
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June 2014
Flexible circuits seem to be finding their way into all of our electronic devices. This month, our expert contributors explain why flexible circuits offer a great way forward for many applications—that is, if you know what you’re doing.
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May 2014
This month, our experts discuss what it takes to have good DFM practices, and why communication with your fabricator is so critical.
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April 2014
The PCB design community seems to foster more than its fair share of myths. This month, we take mythbusting to another level! Put on your safety goggles and take cover!
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March 2014
What’s the best approach to ensuring your fabricator builds the board exactly the way you intend? Find out in this issue of The PCB Design Magazine!
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February 2014
How fast is fast? What is the state-of-the-art for high-speed PCB design, and what does this mean to you? This month, our expert authors and columnists take an in-depth look at design on the bleeding edge.
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January 2014
What did we learn from the past year? What does 2014 hold for PCB technology and design processes? If it’s anything like 2013, this year may be a wild ride.
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High-Speed Design

Download the premier issue of The PCB Design Magazine now!

Our first issue focuses on high-speed design challenges, with feature articles and columns by design industry veterans from all over the PCB design community This month, veteran author and instructor Lee Ritchey presents a tutorial on proper PCB stackup. Longtime HDI technologist Happy Holden traces the advancements in speed and density that he’s seen in his many years as a judge on Mentor Graphics’ Technology Leadership Awards program. And John Levreault of Orvelle Technologies provides a case study that focuses on two super-small, super-dense boards that he designed.

Is the Cloud the limit? In our Articles Department, Iain Wilson of Iron Atom explains the ins and outs of their new Cloud-based pre-CAM tool. And don’t miss the star columnists who you’ve come to know and trust in PCBDesign007 and the Inside Design newsletter: Barry Olney, Istvan Novak, Doug Brooks, Bert Simonovich, Paul Reid, and Tom Hausherr. And please extend a warm welcome to our newest columnist, Jack Olson, who goes in depth into the principles and fundamentals of PCB design in his own unique way. If you know Jack, you know what we’re talking about!

We can’t make all of your design challenges go away. But in each issue of The PCB Design Magazine, we’ll offer you the information you need to make your job simpler, if not easier.

Routing and Placement Edition

Download the December 2012 issue of The PCB Design Magazine now! Our sophomore issue focuses on routing and placement strategies and challenges, with feature articles and columns by the design industry veterans you’ve come to know and trust through PCBDesign007 and the Inside Design Newsletter.

Placement and routing is only getting tougher as real estate shrinks and densities increase. And there are as many routing techniques as there are designers. Some PCB designers would rather cut off their left arm than use an autorouter.

This month, Barry Olney of In-Circuit Design Pty Ltd lays out his top techniques for interactive placement and routing, including using cross-probing between the schematic and PCB. And Noah Fenley of ACD discusses DFA tips and tricks for avoiding footprint errors, cumulative pin-pitch mistakes, and other miscues that might trigger a late-night call from your EMS provider.

Our December issue also features our top columnists Doug Brooks, Jack Olson, Tom Hausherr and Abby Monaco. And help us welcome our newest columnist, Amit Bahl of Sierra Circuits. If you design complex, HDI boards, Amit’s column Design for Manufacturing is a must-read. In Amit’s inaugural column, he explains why it’s so important for PCB designers to turn off their iPods, step away from their CAD systems, and go visit a fabricator. When was the last time you saw the inside of a board shop?

The staff of The PCB Design Magazine wishes you a happy holiday season, and a great 2013!

This issue: Data Transfer Formats
Yes, most PCB designers still use Gerber, but rival data formats are making big strides. This month, we untangle the maze of design data transfer, with supporters of Gerber, ODB++, and IPC-2581 making the case for their preferred format. Is one truly better than the rest, or should we – as one author suggests – combine the best features of several formats into one super standard?
Simulation and Analysis

Do you run simulation on your PCB designs? Circuit boards have grown increasingly faster and more complex, yet simulation is still not standard procedure, even with high-technology designs.

This month, our veteran contributors discuss a variety of simulation techniques that can help you save time and avoid costly re-spins. Mike Steinberger of SiSoft lays out the case for implementing automated checking of high-speed boards, something that's already being performed by IC layout designers. Yuriy Shlepnev of Simberian details the best technique for measuring correlation to 50 GHz and beyond. Barry Olney of In-Circuit Design Pty. Ltd. takes on the role of medical examiner and explores various methods of postmortem simulation. And Dr. Raul Camposano and Steven McKinney of Nimbic detail the applications that are the most likely, and unlikely, to benefit from moving to the cloud.

Most PCB designers claim to be designing for manufacturability, but CAM engineers tell a different story. This month, our expert contributors discuss many of the DFM challenges they see with incoming PCB designs, and present a variety of options for ensuring manufacturability. Hint: Communication can prevent many DFM snafus. Plus: Post-show coverage of the IPC Apex Expo 2013!

EMI & EMC

Radiated emissions can cause a variety of problems on your PCB – even if you’re designing boards with "mature" technologies. In this issue, our columnists and contributors tackle the challenges of achieving EMC (Electromagnetic Compatibility), and discuss some proven methods for minimizing EMI (Electromagnetic Interference) transmissions from the ground up.

HDI: It's a Small World Afterall!

Let’s get small! Board densities continue to increase, and features are shrinking every day. In the May issue of The PCB Design Magazine, our contributors and columnists discuss how ever-advancing HDI technology affects the job of the PCB designer. Joe Fjelstad of Verdant Electronics traces the evolution of HDI, and looks at the pros and cons of some cutting-edge interconnection types available today. Chris Ryder of AT&S explains why HDI PCBs require extra attention to detail and communication between designer and fabricator. And columnist Amit Bahl dispels the myth that HDI is a costly endeavor; he shows how HDI processes can be economical by reducing layer counts.

As always, catch up on the latest columns from Abby Monaco, Barry Olney, Jack Olson,and much more.

All this, industry news highlights, and upcoming events can be found in this month’s issue of The PCB Design Magazine.

Flex Circuit Design

It’s a flexible world out there. Flexible circuits are everywhere now, but designing flex is a whole different ballgame than designing typical rigid boards. This month in The PCB Design Magazine, our contributors and columnists discuss some current tips and techniques for designing flex circuits. Glenn Oliver of DuPont, Matt Doyle and John Dangler of IBM, and Rick Brandwein and Paul Abrahamson of Molex discuss the “Zen” of high-speed flex circuit design. And columnists Amit Bahl and John Coonrod explain the latest flex design tricks from a manufacturer’s perspective.

As always, catch up on the latest columns from Paul Reid, Barry Olney, Jack Olson, and much more.

Sometimes it feels as if we’re floating in a sea of “Design For” acronyms: DFM, DFA, DFT, DFE, DFX...the list goes on. But in the end, isn’t it all about profit? In the July issue of The PCB Design Magazine, our contributors and columnists discuss DFP and the best practices for creating profit in your designs while keeping costs down. Steve Hageman of AnalogHome explains how virtual prototyping can help you design PCBs more profitably. Tom Hausherr of PCB Libraries shows how increasing productivity leads to greater profits. Barry Olney of In-Circuit Design breaks down the various levels where costs can be coaxed out of a design. Amit Bahl of Sierra Circuits details how solid DFP techniques can create higher yields in HDI board design. And Lawrence Romine of Altium explains how designers benefit from being able to track their ever-changing supply chains in real time.

As always, catch up on the latest columns from Mark Thompson, Jack Olson, and much more.

All this, industry news highlights, and upcoming events can be found in this month’s issue of The PCB Design Magazine.

Signal Integrity

It’s not a question of if you’ll encounter signal integrity problems, it’s a question of when. In this issue, the industry’s top SI experts weigh in with the latest tips, tricks and techniques for achieving signal integrity.

Leading off is Lee W. Ritchey's feature artice Differential Signal Design. Columnist Douglas Brooks explains How Electromagnetic Fields Determine Impedance, and Istvan Novak, Barry Olney and John Coonrod weigh in with articles that cover the practical side of SI.

Jack Olson concludes his two-part column The CAD Library, Part 2.

All this, industry news highlights, and upcoming events can be found in this month’s issue of The PCB Design Magazine.

The marketplace of PCB materials is getting bigger and better every day. But which laminates and processes are right for your design? In the September issue of The PCB Design Magazine, our contributors and columnists explore the often confusing world of PCB materials. Sanmina-SCI’s Steve Iketani and Brian Nelson discuss ways in which laminate trends are driven by both financial and loss budgets. Ohmega Technologies’ Bruce Mahler traces the evolution of thin-film resistor material, PWB Inc.’s Paul Reid elaborates on material decomposition and what can be done to prevent it, and Rogers Corporation’s John Coonrod looks at the use of high-frequency laminates for multilayer hybrids.

Also, check out articles by Lee W. Ritchey of Speeding Edge, Nolan Johnson of Sunstone Circuits, as well as the latest columns from Barry Olney, Doug Brooks, and much more.

All this, industry news highlights, and upcoming events can be found in this month’s issue of The PCB Design Magazine.

DESIGN FOR ASSEMBLY

Assembly may take place downstream, but good DFA techniques can save your company time and money. In the October issue of The PCB Design Magazine, our contributors and columnists explore the world of designing for assembly. Flextronics’ Murad Kurwa and Jesus Tan discuss the use of DFX processes for better DFA. PCB Libraries’ Tom Hausherr provides a primer on proper component placement, while Jack Olson offers guidance on placing components through the use of techniques such as floorplanning.

As always, this month we feature columns by our team of experts, including Paul Reid, Istvan Novak, and Barry Olney.
All this, industry news highlights, and upcoming events can be found in this month’s issue of The PCB Design Magazine.

QUALIFYING YOUR FABRICATOR

Picking the right PCB manufacturer is tougher than ever. Sure, there are plenty of good fabricators competing for your business, but how do you determine which company is the best for your needs? In the November issue of The PCB Design Magazine, our contributors and columnists explore the world of qualifying fabricators. Rob Scott of Next Level PCB details his methods for conducting full audits of PCB manufacturers. Designer Kelly Dack discusses some of the criteria he keeps in mind when considering a new fabricator. And columnist Mark Thompson of Prototron tells us what designers should look for in a manufacturer regarding quotes, on-time performance, and controlling various impedances.

We also feature articles by Tom Hausherr of PCB Libraries and Karel Tavernier of Ucamco. And as always, this month we feature columns by our team of experts, including Amit Bahl and Barry Olney.

All this, industry news highlights, and upcoming events can be found in this month’s issue of The PCB Design Magazine

Power Integrity

Just when you were getting used to signal integrity analysis, power integrity takes center stage! Now, instead of focusing primarily on a signal traveling down a transmission line, PCB designers also have to worry about energy distribution along transmission planes as well. In the December issue of The PCB Design Magazine, our contributors and columnists explore the ins and outs of power integrity. Brad Brim of Cadence Design Systems explores the team approach to assuring power integrity. And columnist Istvan Novak of Oracle explains how to make accurate PDN measurements with a variety of cable shields—whether high-quality, low-quality, conductive foil, or braided wire, with single or multiple layers of wire mesh.

We also feature articles by John Vaughan of Circuit Solutions and Tom Woznicki of Flex Circuit Design Company. And as always, this month we feature columns by our team of experts, including Barry Olney, John Coonrod, Amit Bahl and Martyn Gaudion.

All this, industry news highlights, and upcoming events can be found in this month’s issue of The PCB Design Magazine.

A Look at 2014

What does 2014 hold for PCB design? What sort of advances are we likely to see in technology? In this issue, our clairvoyant contributors look back on the past year and give us a glimpse into 2014.

Todd Westerhoff of SiSoft explains why designers should begin the new year by testing and correlating simulation models instead of relying on someone else’s word. Columnists Andy Shaughnessy, Ray Rasmussen and Steve Williams break down the industry’s major events of 2013 and look ahead to 2014 and beyond.

We’ll also feature articles by Alexander Ippich of Multek and Ben Jordan of Altium. And columnist Barry Olney finishes his two-part series on PDN planning and capacitor selection.

All this, industry news highlights, and upcoming events can be found in this month’s issue of The PCB Design Magazine.

High-Speed Design

What is the state-of-the-art for high-speed design? In the February issue of The PCB Design Magazine, our expert contributors focus on design on the bleeding edge.

Yuriy Shlepnev of Simberian explains how to identify the dielectric and conductor roughness models for interconnect and packages running at speeds of 50 GHz and beyond. Barry Olney of In Circuit Design explains how to become a routing star by effectively routing multiple loads. Amit Bahl of Sierra Circuits looks at how high-speed design is being driven by trends in semiconductor manufacturing and connectors.

Also, columnist Mark Thompson discusses what happens during a typical CAM process. John Coonrod replies to some common FAQs regarding microwave PCB materials. And Andy Shaughnessy provides a post-show review of DesignCon 2014.

All this, industry news highlights, and upcoming events can be found in this month’s issue of The PCB Design Magazine.

Documentation

After your layout is finished, now comes the tough part: Conveying design intent to your fabricator. In the March issue of The PCB Design Magazine, our expert contributors focus on a variety of methods for documenting your design for manufacture.

Mark Gallant of DownStream Technologies discusses the growth of documentation software tools, and addresses some reasons why these tools eventually caught on. Martyn Gaudion of Polar Instruments explains why designers need to be more tolerant of tolerance. And Amit Bahl of Sierra Circuits looks at how IPC-2581 helps document design intent.

You’ll also find an article by Nicholaus Smith of Integrated Device Technology, and columns by Barry Olney and Istvan Novak. And this month, we’re introducing “The Town Crier,” a new column by Dan Smith of Raytheon, sometimes known as “Mr. HDI.” Don’t miss his PCB designer survey!

And don’t miss our IPC APEX EXPO 2014 show guide. All this, plus industry news highlights and upcoming events, can be found in this month’s issue of The PCB Design Magazine.

The Mythbusters Issue

PCB designers advocate doing the tough work and taking nothing for granted. But there are a myriad of myths floating around in this industry—myths that just won’t go away. We face these myths head-on in this issue of The PCB Design Magazine.

Barry Olney of In-Circuit Design Pty Ltd. explains why there are no one-way trips for your signals, and timing for the round trip must be considered. Abby Monaco of Intercept Technology discusses the myths she’s faced while working for an EDA software company. And Amit Bahl of Sierra Circuits looks at how the 3/3 limitation is now a thing of the past, thanks to semi-additive processing.

You’ll also find an article by Mark Toth of CadSoft Computer, and columns by Doug Brooks and John Coonrod. And don’t miss our post-show coverage of the IPC Design Forum and APEX EXPO 2014. All this, plus industry news highlights and upcoming events, can be found in this month’s issue of The PCB Design Magazine.

Design for Manufacturing

A PCB design isn’t worth much if it can’t be manufactured, or if it gives your fabricator a migraine. But there has been an apparent disconnect between design and fabrication, to the point that the industry had to come up with a special term: design for manufacturing, or DFM. We focus on the ins and outs of DFM in this issue of The PCB Design Magazine.

Michael Ford of Mentor Graphics explains why Lean NPI practices can lead to a more manufacturable design. Ben Jordan of Altium helps close the gap between design and fabrication, and explains why all manufacturers are not created equally. Mark Thompson of Prototron Circuits discusses the reality of using good DFM practices every day. And Amit Bahl of Sierra Circuits focuses on why consulting with your fabricator is so critical, especially with complex or hybrid designs.

You’ll also find our regular columns by Barry Olney and Dan Smith, along with a brand-new column by Tim Haag of Intercept Technology, “Tim’s Takeaways.”

All this, plus industry news highlights and upcoming events, can be found in this month’s issue of The PCB Design Magazine.

DESIGNING FLEX CIRCUITS

Flexible circuits are becoming more popular in everyday electronics. But when it comes to design, rigid PCBs and flexible circuits are completely different animals. We focus on the ins and outs of flex design in this issue of The PCB Design Magazine.

Thomas Stearns of Brander International discusses why procuring flexible circuits is so different from procuring rigid PCBs. Dave Becker of All Flex explains why flexible circuitry can be seen as the perfect 3D packaging tool. And Tom “Flexdude” Woznicki of Flex Circuit Design Company gets stealthy and discusses how to create “Ninja flex” circuits with shielding films.

You’ll also find an article on DDR3 routing by a new contributor, Robert Feranec of FEDEVEL, as well as our regular columns by Barry Olney, Tim Haag, and John Coonrod.

All this, plus industry news highlights and upcoming events, can be found in this month’s issue of The PCB Design Magazine.

Concurrent Collaboration

More and more PCB designers are members, or leaders, of design teams, some of which are located across a variety of geographic regions. This month, we focus on what’s current in concurrent design in this issue of The PCB Design Magazine.

Dave Wiens of Mentor Graphics discusses how to best optimize collaboration for PCB systems design. Craig Armenti of Zuken offers tips and best practices for multi-site concurrent design. And columnist Barry Olney of In-Circuit Design lays out a step-by-step plan for concurrent design, from pre-layout analysis through virtual prototyping and more.

You’ll also find an article on selecting an assembly repair facility by a new contributor, Ron Fukui of PSI Repair Services, as well as columns by Amit Bahl and Bert Simonovich.

All this, plus industry news highlights and upcoming events, can be found in this month’s issue of The PCB Design Magazine

Materials

A wide variety of PCB materials are available today, from standard FR-4 to high-speed, low-loss laminates and PTFE-based bond ply materials. But every material poses a different challenge to PCB designers trying to stay ahead of the technology curve. We focus on the impact of materials on PCB design in this issue of The PCB Design Magazine.

Barry Olney of In Circuit Design explains the best methods for selecting the correct materials, at the best price point, for digital designs. John Andresakis of Oak-Mitsui discusses a ceramic-filled organic-based composite material that is used to create RF capacitor laminates. Martin Cotton of Ventec Laminates covers the need for materials suppliers to win certifications, such as AS9100C. Amit Bahl of Sierra Circuits explains how high-speed networks are driving the development of new materials. And John Coonrod of Rogers Corporation discusses the effects of operating environments on PCB materials.

You’ll also find a regular column by Tim Haag, a new series on sketch routing by Charles Pfeil of Mentor Graphics, and a new column co-written by Robert Tarzwell and Dan Beaulieu.

All this, plus industry news highlights and upcoming events, can be found in this month’s issue of The PCB Design Magazine.

DATA FORMATS

For years, designers used Gerber, and that was that. But then came ODB++, and the race was on. Now, scrappy newcomer IPC-2581 is making inroads too, and putting up a challenge. We’ll focus on the great data transfer format debate in this issue of The PCB Design Magazine.

Karel Tavernier of Ucamco and Julian Coates of Mentor Graphics engage in a spirited back-and-forth discussion about the benefits and drawbacks of Gerber and ODB++. Hemant Shah and Ed Acheson of Cadence Design Systems discuss the latest updates to IPC-2581, and Amit Bahl of Sierra Circuits explains how IPC-2581 can help streamline the development of stack-ups. And Julian Coates offers the most current information about the ODB++ format.

You’ll also find an article by Paul Reid, and a regular column by Bob Tarzwell and Dan Beaulieu.

All this, plus industry news highlights and upcoming events, can be found in this month’s issue of The PCB Design Magazine.

Years ago, signal integrity was a problem for the EEs to deal with. But at today’s high speeds, even short traces can be affected by transmission line issues. This month, The PCB Design Magazine delves into the world of signal integrity.

Yuriy Shlepnev of Simberian discusses the design of PCBs and packaging interconnects for data links running at 28–32 Gbps bitrates. And Barry Olney of In-Circuit Design focuses on the effects of crosstalk, timing and skew on signal integrity. You’ll also find an article by John Parry of Mentor Graphics, and regular columns by Charles Pfeil, Bob Tarzwell and Dan Beaulieu, John Coonrod, and Tim Haag.

All this, plus industry news highlights and upcoming events, can be found in this month’s issue of The PCB Design Magazine.

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