difference between microstrip and stripline | microstrip vs stripline

This page compares microstrip vs stripline and mentions tabular difference between microstrip and stripline. The basic structures, advantages, disadvantages, applications of microstrip and stripline are also mentioned.

Microstip line

Microstrip line
Fig.1 microstrip line

• Microstrip line is a simple structure consisting of single ground plane, conductive trace and dielectric layer separating single conductor and ground plane.
• It uses quasi-TEM mode of propagation in which dispersion occurs as functions of frequency and transmission line length.
Refer Microstrip line basics >> and microstrip line types >> for more information.


Fig.2 Stripline

• Stripline is a simple structure consisting of a center conductor surrounded by dielectric material with top and bottom metal ground planes.
• It uses fully transverse Electro-magnetic (TEM) propagation which is dispersion free and frequency independent.
• The conductors in stripline are isolated well by dielectric around and hence they do not radiate. Hence they are regarded as nondispersive in nature.
• They are difficult to manufacture due to additional layers compare to microstrip.
Refer Stripline basics and types >> for more information.

Difference between microstrip and stripline

Following table mentions difference between microstrip and stripline.

Features Microstrip Stripline
Structure Conducting layer, dielectric layer and ground layer Top and bottom ground plane, dielectric layer, embedded conducting layer within dielectric
Types • Normal microstrip line
• inverted microstrip line
• suspended microstrip line
• shielded microstrip line
• Normal stripline
• Double conductor stripline
• Offset stripline
• Suspended stripline
Characteristic Impedance 20 to 120 Ohm 35 to 250 Ohm
Width of line at same impedance Wider Narrower
Manufacturing tolerances Tighter Lighter
Radiation Loss High for low ε and Low for high ε Low
Dielectric Loss Less More
Dispersion Low None
Component mounting Easy for series and difficult for shunt Very difficult because of totally covered structure
Quality factor 250 400
Advantages • Smaller size
• Easy to fabricate
• Easy to troubleshoot
• Good EM shielding can be achieved with this structure
• Low attenuation loss
• Wider bandwidth
• Better isolation
Disadvantages • Unwanted radiation in uncovered microstrip based configuration
• Higher loss
• Poor isolation among adjacent lines
• Complex and expensive in fabricating it.
• Stripline Trace width is smaller compare to microstrip line of same impedance and height.
• Tuning or troubleshooting is complex.
Applications It is preferred to use in miniature microstrip patch antennas due to their radiating structures. It is preferred to use in multilayer circuits via PTHs (Plated Through Holes) since it is easy to route signals between layers.


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