The scrambler is required to control the radiated emissions at the media connector and on the twisted-pair cable. By scrambling the data, the total energy launched onto the cable is randomly distributed over a wide frequency range. Without the scrambler, energy levels at the MDI and on the cable could peak beyond FCC limitations at frequencies related to repeating 5B sequences (that is, continuous transmission of IDLEs).
The scrambler is configured as a closed loop linear feedback shift register (LFSR) with an 11-bit polynomial. The output of the closed loop LFSR is X-ORd with the serial NRZ data from the code-group encoder. The result is a scrambled data stream with sufficient randomization to decrease radiated emissions at certain frequencies by as much as 20 dB.