What is crosstalk and how to identify it with an oscilloscope?

Posted By : Lanna Cooper

What is crosstalk and why do I care about it? Crosstalk is interference on a signal from another signal. Any signal could interfere with another if a board layout is too crowded. Digital lines can disrupt power lines.

Power lines can disrupt digital lines. Digital can interfere with other digital signals. If signal traces are placed too close together they can interfere with each other causing noise or errors that could lead to malfunctions of your device.

Ideally, boards are designed to follow specific spacing standards. But as designs become more complex while form factors become more compact, we stretch the boundaries of layout constraints and experiment with new ways of routing signals.

Noise and errors can be caused by many different things, but if the cause is crosstalk, there’s usually a way to fix it. The traces need to be further spaced or rerouted across the board. Unfortunately, redoing a layout and then fabricating another board can be tedious and expensive. Before you go through the trouble, wouldn’t it be nice to measure and quantify crosstalk and understand the benefit of a redesign?

Without a tool to analyse crosstalk, it can be difficult, if not impossible to understand the impact of crosstalk.

In this episode you will learn how to set up eye diagrams and use the crosstalk tool to quantify crosstalk and model the improvement in design if you were to update it to remove the effects of crosstalk.

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