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jeffreybatchelo |
Updated
Six-Degrees of Separation on Blog
It has been postulated that every human is connected to every other human with only six relationships between. It has also been proven that probabilistically, you can be in a room with 23 people and have a 50 percent chance of two people having the same birthday. These connections are all around us. It turns out that digital electronic frequencies seem to have an even tighter relationship when viewed by their fractional relationships. Rational numbers are numbers that can be written it the form of a + b/c where a, b, & c are all integers. This is a handy way to work with frequencies because of the extensive relationships we have found between seemingly unrelated applications.
At Silicon Labs, we see a lot of seemingly unique frequencies from our customers. Consequently, we are in a prime spot to observe relationships between frequencies. Recently, we received a request for a Si5338 frequency plan that had the following frequencies: Input: 185.439560440 MHz OUT1: 148.5 MHz OUT2: 148.351648352 MHz OUT3: 27 MHz Upon initial inspection, there are no nice fractional relationships between these numbers. When such complex divider values are needed, it limits the ability of our algorithms to optimize the performance. So, we dug in a bit to understand the real source of these high-precision numbers. First, we noted that some of these frequencies look to be related to the SMPTE standard where the line data rate can be 1485Mbps or 2970Mbps. 27MHz is also used by SMPTE systems. In SMPTE, the fraction 1000/1001 is deployed to avoid interference. Armed with the customer’s entered frequencies and our knowledge of the SMPTE standards, we begin our detective work: 185.439560440 * 1001/1000 = 185.62500000044 If we can truncate those last two digits, we would have a nice fractional value, but where did those odd values come from. Let’s truncate and find out. Often, we are looking to get to a line rate of something we have seen before. To do so, we often see line rates that are multiples of the clocks by factors of 2, 4, 8, 16, 10, or 20. 185.625000000 * 2 = 371.25 185.625000000 * 4 = 742.5 185.625000000 * 8 = 1485 185.625000000 * 16 = 2970 185.625000000 * 10 = 1856.25 185.625000000 * 20 = 3712.5 Here we have found two SMPTE-related numbers 1485 and 2970. Eureka! So: 185.439560440 is better written as 2970/16/1001*1000 or 185.4395604 4395604 4395604 (repeating) Armed with our new knowledge, we can apply these fractions and base numbers to take full advantage of our frequency planning algorithms. To enter these values, we have created a frequency editor that can accept equations. Pulling up CBPro for the Si5338, and proceeding to the input frequency page: Continuing this for the outputs: As you can see at the bottom of the window, the frequency plan is valid and the design is ok, which means it has been optimized. Entering the frequencies as they were given, yields an unrealizable plan. This same frequency entry form is available throughout CBPro for our clock generators, jitter attenuators, and synchronization clock products.
By entering the input and output frequencies as the full fraction values, CBPro can best optimize to achieve the desired synchronous result (no frequency error) with the lowest jitter possible. The frequency editor in CBPro accepts multiplication, division, addition, subtraction, and even PPM addition giving you the easiest path to creating the frequencies you need in your designs. If you are unsure if the relationships exist, we are here to help you. (CBPro can be downloaded from Silicon Labs website from http://www.silabs.com/cbpro) |
Jul 19 2018, 7:43 PM |

jeffreybatchelo |
Updated
Six-Degrees of Separation on Blog
It has been postulated that every human is connected to every other human with only six relationships between. It has also been proven that probabilistically, you can be in a room with 23 people and have a 50 percent chance of two people having the same birthday. These connections are all around us. It turns out that digital electronic frequencies seem to have an even tighter relationship when viewed by their fractional relationships. Rational numbers are numbers that can be written it the form of a + b/c where a, b, & c are all integers. This is a handy way to work with frequencies because of the extensive relationships we have found between seemingly unrelated applications.
At Silicon Labs, we see a lot of seemingly unique frequencies from our customers. Consequently, we are in a prime spot to observe relationships between frequencies. Recently, we received a request for a Si5338 frequency plan that had the following frequencies: Input: 185.439560440 MHz OUT1: 148.5 MHz OUT2: 148.351648352 MHz OUT3: 27 MHz Upon initial inspection, there are no nice fractional relationships between these numbers. When such complex divider values are needed, it limits the ability of our algorithms to optimize the performance. So, we dug in a bit to understand the real source of these high-precision numbers. First, we noted that some of these frequencies look to be related to the SMPTE standard where the line data rate can be 1485Mbps or 2970Mbps. 27MHz is also used by SMPTE systems. In SMPTE, the fraction 1000/1001 is deployed to avoid interference. Armed with the customer’s entered frequencies and our knowledge of the SMPTE standards, we begin our detective work: 185.439560440 * 1001/1000 = 185.62500000044 If we can truncate those last two digits, we would have a nice fractional value, but where did those odd values come from. Let’s truncate and find out. Often, we are looking to get to a line rate of something we have seen before. To do so, we often see line rates that are multiples of the clocks by factors of 2, 4, 8, 16, 10, or 20. 185.625000000 * 2 = 371.25 185.625000000 * 4 = 742.5 185.625000000 * 8 = 1485 185.625000000 * 16 = 2970 185.625000000 * 10 = 1856.25 185.625000000 * 20 = 3712.5 Here we have found two SMPTE-related numbers 1485 and 2970. Eureka! So: 185.439560440 is better written as 2970/16/1001*1000 or 185.4395604 4395604 4395604 (repeating) Armed with our new knowledge, we can apply these fractions and base numbers to take full advantage of our frequency planning algorithms. To enter these values, we have created a frequency editor that can accept equations. Pulling up CBPro for the Si5338, and proceeding to the input frequency page: Continuing this for the outputs: As you can see at the bottom of the window, the frequency plan is valid and the design is ok, which means it has been optimized. Entering the frequencies as they were given, yields an unrealizable plan. This same frequency entry form is available throughout CBPro for our clock generators, jitter attenuators, and synchronization clock products.
By entering the input and output frequencies as the full fraction values, CBPro can best optimize to achieve the desired synchronous result (no frequency error) with the lowest jitter possible. The frequency editor in CBPro accepts multiplication, division, addition, subtraction, and even PPM addition giving you the easiest path to creating the frequencies you need in your designs. If you are unsure if the relationships exist, we are here to help you. (CBPro can be downloaded from Silicon Labs website from http://www.silabs.com/cbpro) |
Jul 19 2018, 6:19 PM |

jeffreybatchelo |
Posted
Six-Degrees of Separation on Blog
It has been postulated that every human is connected to every other human with only six relationships between. It has also been proven that probabilistically, you can be in a room with 23 people and have a 50 percent chance of two people having the same birthday. These connections are all around us. It turns out that digital electronic frequencies seem to have an even tighter relationship when viewed by their fractional relationships Rational numbers are numbers that can be written it the form of a + b/c where a, b, & c are all integers. This is a handy way to work with frequencies because of the extensive relationships we have found between seemingly unrelated applications
At Silicon Labs, we see a lot of seemingly unique frequencies from our customers. Consequently, we are in a prime spot to observe relationships between frequencies. Recently, we received a request for a Si5338 frequency plan that had the following frequencies: Input: 185.439560440 MHz OUT1: 148.5 MHz OUT2: 148.351648352 MHz OUT3: 27 MHz Upon initial inspection, there are no nice fractional relationships between these numbers. When such complex divider values are needed, it limits the ability of our algorithms to optimize the performance. So, we dug in a bit to understand the real source of these high-precision numbers. First, we noted that some of these frequencies look to be related to the SMPTE standard where the line data rate can be 1485Mbps or 2970Mbps. 27MHz is also used by SMPTE systems. In SMPTE, the fraction 1000/1001 is deployed to avoid interference. Armed with the customer’s entered frequencies and our knowledge of the SMPTE standards, we begin our detective work: 185.439560440 * 1001/1000 = 185.62500000044 If we can truncate those last two digits, we would have a nice fractional value, but where did those odd values come from. Let’s truncate and find out. Often, we are looking to get to a line rate of something we have seen before. To do so, we often see line rates that are multiples of the clocks by factors of 2, 4, 8, 16, 10, or 20. 185.625000000 * 2 = 371.25 185.625000000 * 4 = 742.5 185.625000000 * 8 = 1485 185.625000000 * 16 = 2970 185.625000000 * 10 = 1856.25 185.625000000 * 20 = 3712.5 Here we have found two SMPTE-related numbers 1485 and 2970. Eureka! So: 185.439560440 is better written as 2970/16/1001*1000 or 185.4395604 4395604 4395604 (repeating) Armed with our new knowledge, we can apply these fractions and base numbers to take full advantage of our frequency planning algorithms. To enter these values, we have created a frequency editor that can accept equations. Pulling up CBPro for the Si5338, and proceeding to the input frequency page: Continuing this for the outputs: As you can see at the bottom of the window, the frequency plan is valid and the design is ok, which means it has been optimized. Entering the frequencies as they were given, yields an unrealizable plan. This same frequency entry form is available throughout CBPro for our clock generators, jitter attenuators, and synchronization clock products.
By entering the input and output frequencies as the full fraction values, CBPro can best optimize to achieve the desired synchronous result (no frequency error) with the lowest jitter possible. The frequency editor in CBPro accepts multiplication, division, addition, subtraction, and even PPM addition giving you the easiest path to creating the frequencies you need in your designs. If you are unsure if the relationships exist, we are here to help you. (CBPro can be downloaded from Silicon Labs website from http://www.silabs.com/cbpro) |
Jul 19 2018, 6:16 PM |

jeffreybatchelo |
Replied
to
Is a MultiSynth really just a PLL?
Interesting question. MultiSynth is not a PLL. MultiSynth is a fractional divider technology that can adjust the clock output phase in real-time to "fix" any of the phase error that results from the frequency division. Since MultiSynth does control phase in real time just like a PLL, but it produces less cross-talk because there are less VCO's. MultiSynth behaves like a PLL in terms of frequency flexibility, so devices that employ multiple versions behave like devices with multiple PLL's. Practically speaking, MultiSynth can produce the flexibility of multiple PLL's but with lower power since only one PLL is used.
I hope this helps. |
Oct 28 2017, 4:39 PM |

jeffreybatchelo |
Replied
to
How to configure the Clock of Si5336 in Nuand RF Board ?
I think the part number is Si5338. It is very configurable, but I am not familiar with the implementation on the Nuand board. You will need access to the I2C pins of the Si5338 in order to program it. |
Oct 28 2017, 4:39 PM |

jeffreybatchelo |
Replied
to
Please explain why customers should use XOs (or MEMs oscillators) rather than just using crystals?
Start-up issues are a reliability problem and not necessarily visible when a board is manufactured. Often the issues are crystal batch related, and failures can occur months or years after manufacturing. Start-up reliability is highly dependent on the contamination level of the cavity containing the crystal. Crystal and oscillator vendors take great pains to avoid contamination by quality control of their processes as well as testing and sampling, but these tests may not be viable for the cheapest crystals. Common tests for oscillators are CI and DLD. Silicon Labs' oscillators also implement margining and other proprietary techniques within the IC that can further weed out weak crystal + IC pairs and maintain start-up reilability. FIT rate can be a useful metric for comparing oscillators' reliability, and often contamination problems will create defects at the 100's of PPM level when control is poor.
MEMS oscillators are processed in much cleaner environments so they are less likely to see contamination issues. Silicon Labs also employs other proprietary techniques to ensure start-up reliability for the MEMS oscillators. Again, FIT rate can be a useful metric. |
Oct 28 2017, 4:39 PM |

jeffreybatchelo |
Replied
to
Please explain why customers should use XOs (or MEMs oscillators) rather than just using crystals?
There are other factors too. As a system designer, do you want to guarantee that the XTAL + IC will start-up every time? An oscillator manufacturer should test each and every oscillator to ensure they start-up, and that the oscillator will have sufficient oscillation margin over the life of the product. This should reduce your system failure rate. In other applications, the jitter must be known at the design time, and this parameter is also guaranteed by the oscillator manufacturer. And MEMS oscillators are more mechanically robust than XTAL's, so it all depends on what you need for your design.
The other opinions given regarding stability are also well stated, however, there are more details. The center frequency of a XTAL and IC is sensitive to the load capacitance inside the IC and the layout/external load caps. If you need a precise center frequency, then an oscillator can be selected with this whereas the system designer is responsible for it when combining XTAL's and IC's. |
Oct 28 2017, 4:39 PM |