Sketch Routing, Part 1: Control


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This article is part one of a three-part series that will discuss a new routing tool that allows PCB designers to “sketch” the routing of traces and then routes along the path of the sketch. The articles discuss the core elements of effective PCB routing--control, quality, and performance--and how the sketch routing environment empowers the designer to succeed with each of these elements.

In the past, one of these three was always missing from routing capability; yet without all three, the functionality falls short of being the truly useful and desirable solution that designers want. This first article describes the kind of control over routing that is expected.

As designers, we often envision topology forms in our minds as we organize the rough component placement and as we refine it within the context of each particular design. Of course, there are exceptions that make this visualization difficult, such as emulation or network boards where nearly every BGA I/O is connected to every other of the 8, 16, 32, or more BGAs on the design. And to our horror, the netline display is so dense that it appears as a solid color.

With those types of designs, something beyond the normal approach is needed. Normal designs feature an organization of ASICs and/or FPGAs with interfaces, various functional circuits, and power supplies, which are grouped and positioned during placement.

With that so-called “normal” design, a plan, a flow of the routing, and a solution to the interconnect complexity forms in our imagination, which is coupled with the graphic feedback of netlines, classlines, coloring, and filtering. Designers want tools that enable control of the actual routing so that it matches this vision.Read the full article here.Editor's Note: This article originally appeared in the August 2014 issue of The PCB Design Magazine.

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