As data rate and port densities continue to increase, system designers must choose between two extremes to meet their connectivity requirements. Fiber optical interconnects allow extended reaches, but the system solutions are very expensive and power-hungry. Copper cables offer a low-power solution, but the thickness, weight and attenuation limit port counts. At line rates greater than 10 Gbps, passive copper cabling cannot support links over more than a few meters. Renesas' signal integrity products with Q-Active technology provide a 300% reach extension over passive copper solutions and consume 80% less power than competing optical solutions.

With the increasing demand for higher quality video, Ultra-HD (UHD 4K) is becoming more popular and the emerging 8K video is right behind it. Video interface technology is changing to adopt the speed required for higher resolutions, color depth and refresh rates. The transition from analog video to digital video using a high-speed serial interface (e.g., HDMI, DisplayPort, LVDS, and MHL) accommodates this large data transfer. USB 3.1 Type-C combines audio, video and bidirectional data transfer and power delivery, and is becoming a widely adopted interconnect between mobile devices, personal computers, cameras, monitors, and more. Renesas' redriver ICs with analog equalizers are the perfect solution for VESA DisplayPort v1.3 (8.1Gbps) USB-C long active cables.

Additionally, with the increase of signal speeds in computing, storage and communications applications, system designers face greater signal integrity challenges. The signal integrity product portfolio from Renesas provides signal conditioning devices for popular multi-gigabit per second IO protocols, delivering signal quality over extended distances while offering simplified design by alleviating board layout constraints.

Benefits of Renesas signal conditioners:

  • Extend maximum cable length to over 10 meters and trace length over 65 inches in cabled applications
  • Speeds up system design time by allowing usage of longer trace and cable lengths
  • Minimizes bit error rate (BER)

The Signal Integrity Challenge

High-speed signals can deteriorate to unacceptable levels by the time they reach end receivers, due to transmitter, receiver, and channel characteristics. Renesas' signal repeaters (signal conditioners) are specifically designed to resolve these issues and to ensure minimized jitter and maximized eye opening at the target receiver by compensating for cable and PCB trace attenuation and ISI jitter. This is accomplished by boosting the transmitted signal, by equalizing the received signal, or by doing both when either option by itself is not sufficient due to channel length or due to discontinuities generated by vias and connectors. In addition, Renesas retimers minimize random jitter, further increasing signal quality.

Renesas Signal Repeater ICs (Signal Conditioners)

The Renesas SIP family of signal repeater ICs includes support for: 5 Gbps PCI Express® (PCIe) Gen2, USB 3.0, 6 Gbps SAS/SATA; 6.25 Gbps Serial RapidIO® 2.1, and other standards for computing, storage and communications applications. Signal conditioning devices incorporate advanced receive equalization and transmit de-emphasis capabilities, as well as diagnostic features that help Renesas customers achieve a simplified design with faster time to market. Specifically, the devices drive long on-board traces, backplane traces and cables to external devices to ensure optimum system performance. In addition, Renesas' signal repeater ICs include loss of signal (LOS) detection and individual channel loopback diagnostic capabilities as well as 2:1 mux/demux functions. Devices support 2, 4 or 8 differential channels, configurable via I2C, control pins, or EEPROM. The repeater ICs offer power-saving modes for the lowest possible power consumption.

Renesas Signal Conditioning Retimers

Renesas retimers are the industry’s first signal conditioning parts fully compliant with the PCIe 3.0 specification. They are compliant to the PCIe Automatic Link Equalization procedure, easing system design and enhancing reliability with any PCIe-compliant expansion card or host bus adapter. The signal conditioners are designed to improve signal integrity and to more than double maximum PCB trace and cable lengths. These devices minimize both random and deterministic jitter from the input signal before transmitting it out to target devices.

Renesas repeaters and retimers are ideal for solving signal integrity problems in blade servers, enterprise storage, communication systems, and cloud computing.


Multiprotocol Repeaters

Signal repeaters optimized for demanding 1.5Gbps to 6G applications

PCI Express® Gen2 Repeaters

Signal repeaters optimized for demanding 2.5Gbps to 5Gbps applications

PCI Express® Gen3 Retimers

Signal repeaters optimized for demanding 2.5Gbps, 5Gbps and 8Gbps applications

SAS / SATA 6G Repeaters

Signal repeaters optimized for demanding 1.5Gbps to 6G applications

Serial RapidIO® 2.1 Repeaters

RapidIO signal repeaters optimized for demanding 2.5Gbps to 6.25Gbps applications

Product Selector: Signal Integrity Products

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Product Selector
IDT Signal Integrity Products - Repeaters for PCIe, USB, and SATA


IDT provides a broad portfolio of active signal conditioner ICs.  These Repeaters support data rates up to 6.25Gbps and allow for reliable communication over long circuit board traces or across long cables. This video provides an introduction to IDT's Signal Integrity Product line and shows a brief demonstration of PCIe 2.1, USB 3.0, and 6G SATA repeater capabilities.  Other protocols offered include 6G SAS, sRIO, XAUI, and more. Presented by Ken Curt, Product Manager, Integrated Device Technology, Inc.


Hello. Today I'd like to demonstrate IDT repeater signal integrity products. These repeaters are part of IDT's portfolio of active signal conditioning devices for multi-gigabit-per-second serial protocols. Before we look at the demo, though, I'd like to review some basic concepts of signal integrity.
Multi-gigabit per second signals, as used in today's systems, degrade quickly when traveling across a PCB trace, often in just a few inches. Poor quality signals can result in a loss of system performance and even compromise reliability. 
IDT signal integrity products are specifically engineered to improve signal quality by eliminating jitter or noise and correcting for attenuation or loss. This results in better signal margins to ensure good signal communication and optimum system performance. 
Signal integrity devices are used in a wide variety of applications today, including servers, personal computers, telecom and storage systems, medical and electronic instrumentation and more. In a blade server system, for example, signals must cross from the host controller on a CPU board, across a backplane with multiple sets of connectors, and then to an IO board or another CPU board. Trace links can exceed 24 inches easily while cables of six meters are not uncommon going from chassis to chassis. At these distances, signal quality will be a problem, certainly a concern. 
Now, let's look at the demo system. At the bottom, here, it begins with a standard, off-the-shelf, small form factor desktop PC and motherboard. But, as you can see from this 28-inch stack of FR four-trace, the 15-meter PCI express cable, the seven meters of USB cable, and the six meters of SATA cable, our purpose, here, is to show the repeater capabilities, rather than how you would design a real system.
The five gigabit per second PCI Express Gen2 signals originate on the motherboard and pass through a connector set, then across this passive trace card, to an IDT PCI Express Gen2 repeater card. From that repeater card, they pass another passive trace card, to another IDT repeater card, and then over this long 15-meter cable, to another IDT repeater card, where they're received by a USB3 controller. 
From the USB3 controller, signals transfer across seven meters of cable, through an IDT USB3 repeater, and then to the hard disk drive here. 
This data channel, with its many segments and connectors is complex and electrically difficult. As a point of reference, PCI Express can typically support 16 inches of trace in one connector at five gigabits per second. Here, we've shown 28 inches of trace, almost twice as long, plus 15 meters of cable, and seven sets of connectors. 
Also in this demo, is a six gigabit per second SATA hard disk drive, attached with six meters of low cost SATA cable. 
On the monitor, we can see that the three hard disk drives are recognized, and the PCI Express link to the USB3 controller is running at the full five gigabit per second data rate.
The repeaters in this design allow this system to operate at full speed. IDT's repeaters are server-class products, because they offer comprehensive capabilities for signal optimization. To make this optimization easy, we provide a simple windows utility, with drop-down selection menus that allows parameters to be quickly changed. You can adjust receiver equalization, output swing and emphasis, the IO termination, and many other operating parameters. 
We provide example files for typical applications that can be loaded into the utility to begin your system evaluation, and then updated and saved when the signals are adjusted and optimum.
So, to conclude this demonstration, we've shown that IDT repeaters can support reliable five and six gigabit per second data transfers across complex channels for PC Express USB3, and six gigabit per second SATA. 
IDT offers signal conditioners for many popular protocols, including PCI Express, USB3, SATA, SAS, XAUI, SRIO, and more. Devices are available in various widths from two to 16 channels, and in package options from 20 QFN to 196 BGA. Most devices offer channel mux, demux, and loop-back capabilities. 
Well, thank you for watching this introduction to IDT signal integrity products. For more information, please contact IDT.