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Asynchronous Current Mode Serial Communication

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4 Author(s)
Dobkin, R. ; Electr. Eng. Dept., Technion - Israel Inst. of Technol., Haifa, Israel ; Moyal, M. ; Kolodny, A. ; Ginosar, R.

An asynchronous high-speed wave-pipelined bit-serial link for on-chip communication is presented as an alternative to standard bit-parallel links. The link employs the differential level encoded dual-rail (LEDR) two-phase asynchronous protocol, avoiding per-bit handshake and eliminating per-bit synchronization, in contrast with synchronous serial links that rely on complex clock recovery. Novel low-power current signaling driver and receiver circuits are presented, enabling high-speed communication at a very low voltage swing over long wires. In contrast, previous methods employed voltage sensing, resulting in higher swing, higher dynamic power, shorter wires or slower operation. The asynchronous current mode driver is designed to support varying data rates, and it eliminates the need for balanced codes and busy toggling that prevent deep discharge. The data cycle time of the link is equal to a single gate delay, enabling 67 Gb/s throughput in 65-nm technology. Wave-pipelining is employed also by the asynchronous SERDES circuits, to enable such high speed operation. The link was SPICE simulated for 65-nm technology, using wire models obtained by a 3-D EM solver. The link incurs lower power and area relative to synchronous and asynchronous bit-parallel communications, and these relative benefits also scale with technology.

Published in:

Very Large Scale Integration (VLSI) Systems, IEEE Transactions on  (Volume:18 ,  Issue: 7 )