The ideal way to determine if a receiver is fit for an application is to test it with the worst
signal it is likely to ever see. Techniques for testing the tolerance of receivers to different
types of stress have been around for decades and have proven their utility at rates up to
10 Gb/s. Now, stress tests applied in serial data standards are stretching the concept to
its limit. We show how different types of stress arise in systems, how they can be applied
to a receiver for diagnosing problems and then look at a typical serial standard to see
how stress tests are used for interoperability compliance.