How to Determine the Root Cause of Jitter

Question: How do you determine the root cause of jitter on a fast signal?

Answer: It’s important to understand total jitter on the signal of interest and then break down the jitter into Random and Deterministic Jitter components . Random Jitter is a result of intrinsic noise found in systems or components. Deterministic Jitter is a result tied to items like crosstalk  or bandwidth-limiting channels which can be further analyzed and removed; allowing for better performance margins and a more reliable design. Looking for potential root causes of deterministic jitter influencers is accomplished from a variety of analysis approaches. For example, it’s important to understand the jitter modulation at low frequencies  and what type of PLL design is needed to track the periodic jitter , or understand how spikes in time interval errors are tied to particular points in time on captured waveform data.

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