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Part 2: Signal Integrity Issues > Signal Integrity Overview

Chapter 8. Signal Integrity Overview

One time I served on a panel where I was asked, “At what point does signal integrity become a problem?” The intent of the question was to ask at what frequency signal integrity becomes an issue for board designers, but as stated, the question was more general. That got me thinking about how broad the term signal integrity really is, even though we have come to think of it in terms of more narrowly defined high-speed issues.

A not-really-facetious answer to the question is that we have a signal integrity problem whenever the signal begins to lose its integrity. And this is not necessarily related to its frequency. Two of the more obvious and common ways a signal can lose integrity is when it becomes distorted or when the signal-to-noise ratio (S/N) begins to degrade.


  

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