Everything About 6-Layer PCB Stack-Up

Are you looking to learn more about the 6-layer PCB stack up? Then, you’ve come to the right place! Multi-layer boards are a key component of any circuit or product design, and understanding how they work is essential for creating successful products.

This blog post will explain what a 6-layer PCB stack up means, why it’s necessary, and some tips on constructing your effective functioning board.

We know that multi-leveled boards can be intimidating, so we hope our advice will give you the knowledge necessary for tackling your most challenging designs.

What Is PCB Layer Stack-Up?

pcb stackup

The PCB layer stackup is an arrangement of insulating and copper layers designed to form multiple boards on one device.

You’ll find that most multi-layer PCBs are made up of three conducting layers as a standard way of construction, with insulation layers located between each board.

Connections from one circuit board layer to another can be varied, with different signals requiring resistance or passive elements to connect them correctly.

This delicate balance of design allows for enhanced performance, with enough power in each connection and reduced interference. Understanding and designing the perfect stackup on your PCB is fundamental to ensuring optimum performance and reliability.

The Importance of a 6-Layer Board Stackup

When it comes to circuit boards, the more layers, the better. More layers are better because having a 6-layer stackup on your board helps with efficient routing, heat dissipation, and space management.

It provides superior signal integrity as each additional layer increases the paths available for signals to travel between components on the board.

With multiple ground and power planes, it reduces noise and crosstalk while also separating sensitive analog circuits from digital logic. Heat dissipation is improved as there are more parallel planes through which heat can be dissipated around components.

Moreover, higher layer counts enable the placement of smaller-sized components that take up less room on a board – making a 6-layer stackup much preferable if you want to maximize space efficiency. For any circuit board engineer worth their pay, designing a 6-layer stackup should be a no-brainer!

What Is the Best 6-Layer PCB Stack up?

One of the most critical aspects of designing a PCB is determining the best stackup configuration. Choosing the best stackup configuration involves deciding how many layers to include in the board and what types of layers you should include.

The 6-layer PCB stackup is one of the most popular configurations, but you need to configure it correctly to provide maximum signal integrity and performance.

The Optimal 6-Layer Stackup

The optimal 6-layer stackup for signal integrity consists of three signal layers, two ground planes, and one power plane. The top layer is a signal layer, followed by a ground plane, an inner signal layer, a power plane, another ground plane, and a bottom signal layer.

This configuration creates an ideal return path for signals as each signal layer is closely situated near a ground plane.

Additionally, the proximity between the power and ground planes makes planner capacitance which further increases the performance of your board.

However, there are some drawbacks to this configuration; you lose one signal layer when using this setup so routing can become more challenging. Those who need more routing space on their boards while still maintaining good levels of signal integrity and performance may opt for an 8-layer stackup instead.

6 layer PCB stackup

Standard 6-Layer PCB

You can also use the standard six-layer PCB. The six-layer board stack up is often set up with the inner signal routing layers in the center of the board, topped by a signal layer, and grounded at the bottom with another signal plane.

This arrangement offers improved shielding for the inner signal routing layers, aiding in higher frequency operations. However, you can elevate this design further through thicker dielectric material placed between the two inner layers, providing even more distance for improved performance.

 Additionally, you can reduce planning capacitance by separating power and ground planes within the six-layer configuration, which requires additional decoupling to make up for it.

The Original Stackup Configuration

Alternatively, you can go with this third option. The third best 6-layer PCB stackup consists of a top signal layer, inner signal layer, ground plane, power plane, inner signal again, and the bottom signal layer.

Though this arrangement does not provide any shielding for the signal layers, and there are two of the signal layers not near a plane, it becomes more desirable with some modifications.

For example, switching out the top and bottom signal layers with a ground plane can increase performance significantly and is a good way to get the most out of your build.

The downside is that it limits routing signals to only two internal layers. While this isn’t necessarily ideal, it can be an efficient way to optimize your PCB stackup if used in the right design.

6-Layer PCB Stackup Thickness

When it comes to 6-layer PCB stackup thickness, dielectrics of 10 mil are best employed for impedance-regulated signals and microstrip routing with a width between 15-20 mil.

A width of between 15-20 mil allows for extensive use of differential pairs, enabling routing into specific form factor networking products. Customers can quickly achieve multi-gigabit Ethernet channels using this thinner stackup layer.

This stackup method is highly efficient and reliable, allowing users to have optimum speed and accuracy when constructing the boards.

6 Layer PCB Stackup Design Guidelines

Printed Circuit Boards (PCBs) are the foundation of all electronic devices. They provide the structure for connecting components, allowing signals to travel from one component to another.

As the complexity of your design increases, the number of layers needed in your board will also increase. If you’re new to these components, it’s best to start with a simple board that requires fewer layers.

Therefore, a 6-layer PCB stack is often used in modern electronics designs requiring high-speed signals or RF routing. Here are some key design guidelines and considerations when using a six-layer PCB stackup.

Understanding Your Stackup

When designing a 6-layer PCB, it’s essential to understand how each layer works together to create an effective signal path between components.

The first two layers should be dedicated to power and ground planes, while you can use the subsequent four layers for signal routing and high-speed communication.

The outermost dielectrics should be thinner than those on the inner layers to control impedance on the surface layer for high-speed signals or RF routing.

GND planes should always be placed on L5 and L2, insulating the inner signal layer and disconnecting the power-ground plane pair on L2-L3. Adding GND planes to L2 and L5 protects L6 and L4 from crosstalk.

High-Speed Layout Considerations

When laying out your board with a large pin count BGA, these devices can be challenging to connect to the internal power layer return path since several vias must pass through the stackup.

Therefore, it’s important to follow standard high-speed layouts guidelines such as keeping all traces as short as possible, avoiding sharp turns or angles in traces, and using ground planes whenever possible to ensure proper connection between components and prevent any issues due to crosstalk or noise interference.

It’s also important to pay attention to power delivery network planning and ensure that your board has sufficient copper pour area available around your BGA components to receive enough current without creating excessive heat buildup.

Additionally, please keep track of return paths so they are correctly connected with vias throughout each layer of your board layout.


Overall, designing a 6-layer PCB requires careful consideration of the power and ground planes and the high-speed layout. You’ll need to understand your system’s requirements before you attempt it.

It is essential to use thinner dielectrics for improved performance, separate power, and ground planes within the six-layer configuration, keep traces short and avoid sharp turns to reduce crosstalk or noise interference.

By following these guidelines when constructing your boards, you can quickly achieve multi-gigabit Ethernet channels while maintaining signal integrity throughout all layers of your design. Give it a try!


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