Understanding SerDes (Serializer and Deserializer) Technology in 5 Minutes

SerDes (Serializer/Deserializer) in 5 Minutes

February 9, 2023

SerDes, a combination of the words Serializer and Deserializer, is the backbone of many modern technological advancements such as 800Gbit/s Ethernet, high-resolution cameras and displays, and 5K TVs. It enables the transfer of large amounts of information over coaxial or twisted-pair cables and is bi-directional, allowing for high-speed data transfer in the forward direction and slower communications in the reverse direction. 

In today’s world, the demand for higher speed data transfer is on the rise, and parallel data flows are unable to keep up. This is due to jitter, a component that becomes tighter with increasing speed and affects the reliability of parallel data flows. SerDes solves this problem by encoding more data in one time quanta using Pulse Amplitude Modulation (PAM). This results in higher data rates and more reliable data flows. 

SerDes technology can be used with either 50ohm Coax or 100ohm Twisted pair interfaces. In some cases, it is possible to transmit power over coax (POC), which is ideal for powering cameras. Automotive SerDes technologies include GMSL2 and 3 from ADI/Maxim, FPD-LinkIII and FPD-LinkIV from Texas Instruments, and MotionLink from the Automotive SerDes Alliance.

Live Demo

In a live demonstration using Vehicle Spy 3, the configuration of chips using SerDes technology was shown. The demonstration illustrated how to change a color bar application from 8 to 4 to 2 to 1 bar using function blocks and how to update the registers faster than the image output frame per second. The SerDes link packet data type, resolution, and frame per second were reported and calculated in real-time. 

In conclusion, SerDes technology is essential in meeting the demands of high-speed data transfer and enabling the future of electronics. With its ability to encode more data and ensure reliable data flows, SerDes is poised to play a major role in the development of many innovative technologies.

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