JEDEC is a global industry group that develops open standards for microelectronics. JEDEC originally stood for Joint Electron Device Engineering Council, but is now known as the JEDEC Solid State Technology Association. The group currently has more than 3,000 volunteer members representing nearly 300 member companies.
JEDEC consists of 50 committees and subcommittees focused on areas of microelectronic technologies. These committees propose and develop open standards, publishing updates as necessary. All JEDEC standards are listed on its website, and members gather several times a year to address the changing needs of the tech industry. After a committee approves a standard, it is voted on by the board of directors. Every company that becomes a JEDEC member gets one vote on proposals prior to meetings.
JEDEC, as it exists today, was first established in 1958, with just two councils: tubes and semiconductors. In its early days, JEDEC primarily existed to assign part numbers to different devices. Over time, its responsibilities grew to include developing testing methods and product standards that have shaped the growth of the semiconductor industry.
Flash memory and mobile memory are key standards JEDEC works on, but the group has also created open standards for computer memory, developed the electrostatic discharge symbol used internationally on semiconductor devices and published a manual of common definitions used in the semiconductor industry.
Prior to JEDEC standards, there was little competition in the semiconductor industry. That changed as more committees were formed and membership grew. Communications companies and the military drove industry standards during the 1970s, and when the PC was introduced in 1981, demands changed again. The semiconductor mass market grew along with PC use, and JEDEC began to develop open standards for dynamic random-access memory (DRAM) components and memory modules, as well as for packaging and manufacturing processes.
The automotive industry became involved in the 1990s, as military standards were converted to commercial standards. JEDEC made its standards available for download online in 1997.
Outsourcing manufacturing in this time period meant an emphasis on international standards, which became a top priority for JEDEC. In 1999, JEDEC signed an agreement with the International Electrotechnical Commission and Electronic Industries Association of Japan to make JEDEC standards available internationally. This was also the year JEDEC implemented its name change to the JEDEC Solid State Technology Association.
Over the years, JEDEC standards have expanded into cloud, mobile computing and other developing technologies.
JEDEC memory standards
JEDEC standards seek to cover the entirety of the electronics industry, from manufacturers to consumers. Packaging, testing, quality and reliability are all considered when standards are developed. JEDEC memory standards largely fall into three categories:
Flash memory. Flash memory products today have high density, low-power usage, high performance and low cost. As flash uses grow, JEDEC has created industry standards to cover all areas of flash memory. Current focus areas include solid-state drives (SSDs), embedded MultiMediaCard (eMMC) and Universal Flash Storage. Standards in this category are set and updated by JEDEC's JC-64 committee, which defines standards for embedded memory storage and removable memory cards and primarily concentrates on solid-state flash technology.
Main memory. The JEDEC main memory standards encompass double data rate SDRAM (DDR SDRAM) and synchronous DRAM (SDRAM). Currently, JEDEC has standards for two types of DDR, DDR3 and DDR4, with DDR5 in development. JEDEC DDR standards aim to have higher performance than traditional DRAM technologies and a more user-friendly interface. Main memory standards are developed by the JC-42 Committee for Solid State Memories.
Mobile memory. In an effort to keep up with the advancement of mobile technology, JEDEC has set standards focusing on memory density and performance. Low-power DDR (LPDDR) standards, updated in 2017, aim to boost memory speed and efficiency for mobile devices. Published in 2014, the Wide I/O standards deliver high-bandwidth memory, while Wide I/O DRAM meets industry demands for integration. LPDDR and Wide I/O standards are proposed by the JC-42.6 Subcommittee for Low Power Memories.
Other areas of focus for JEDEC standards include memory module design, memory configurations, three-dimensional integrated circuit technology (3D-IC) and lead-free manufacturing.
Benefits of JEDEC standards
JEDEC's goal is to create common standards that can be used by manufacturers and consumers. Having universal standards for technologies lowers the chance of misunderstandings and confusion for consumers when selecting a product, and it facilitates the interchangeability of products.
The standards developed by JEDEC committees are intended to serve as basic building blocks for thriving technology markets. A general standard also helps technology suppliers maximize their investments in research and development.
JEDEC maintains partnerships with other organizations in the electronics industry, including IPC-Association Connecting Electronics Industries, Consumer Technology Association, Defense Logistics Agency, Global Semiconductor Alliance and the Society of Automotive Engineers. Including such organizations in the development and revision process reduces the risk of duplicated development efforts and helps promote consistency across different fields.
Recent standards and future
In 2016, JEDEC published 18 new standards, as well as memory device specifications and design guides. Recent publications include best practices for spotting and avoiding counterfeit parts, and a customer notification standard that establishes procedures for informing customers of semiconductor product or process changes. JEDEC continues to update its Universal Flash Storage standards, including version 1 of an extension to its UFS card.
Continuing its global expansion, JEDEC established its first Chinese-based task group in 2016, as China's semiconductor industry grows and develops.