Consider these alternatives for advanced PCB design and analysis.

These days, I try to keep up with interesting signal integrity discussions on forums, SI listservs, and LinkedIn. After reading a recent question about PDN models and parasitic extraction on SI-lists, I made the comment (paraphrased) that “S-parameters are overgeneralized.” Someone might rightly ask for clarification, and PCD&F seems the right forum to address this.

The point of the comment is this: S-parameters are not always the most conceptually satisfying mathematical tool – nor the only tool – for analyzing in every situation. Other designers might disagree with this and that’s fine; if you can garner important design insights from S-parameters, rather than some other parameter set, then so be it. My goal isn’t to knock S-parameters, but alternatives have more useful mathematical properties, or a more satisfying conceptual meaning, in certain situations.

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