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I've completed many multi-gigahertz product designs during my career. If you take the time to study and understand the physics involved and bother to do a bit of math none of it is particularly difficult. I reject the characterization of this as some kind of a black art. It's not magic. Yes, of course, experience helps, but it isn't magic. One problem is that some in the industry are still using people who do layout based on how things look rather than through a scientific process. Yes, it's analog electronics. When was it anything else?

Want to wrap yourself around another challenging aspect of high-speed design? Power distribution system design (PDS). You can design perfect boards based on solid transmission line and RF theory and have them fail to work due to issues such as frequency-dependent impedances and resonance in the PDS.

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