A Versatile Multi-Modality Serial Link

Y. Tanaka, Y. Hino, Y. Okada, T. Takeda, S. Ohashi, H. Yamagishi, K. Kawasaki, and A. Hajimiri

Serial data links are often designed targeting a specific transmission medium. High-speed links using different predetermined transmission media have been demonstrated in the past [1-3]. This, however, restricts user’s ability to use an integrated link interface with other transmission media once the chip is fabricated. For example, traditional transceivers for copper interconnects typically transmit baseband data, which is incompatible with a free-space wireless channel that is bandpass in nature and often uses RF carriers. A multi-modality transceiver block compatible with different transmission media is highly desirable as it offers great versatility by allowing the exact same interface circuitry to be used with different transmission media. Such a versatile interface can relax the board and system design requirements and enable the reuse of the same transceiver core with different media, reducing the time and cost overhead of re-designing and re-manufacturing.