Design Stages

S2C technology can be used early in the design process so that you can take advantage of the benefits of FPGA prototyping at any design stage.

Design Exploration

Designing the right product is more important than designing the product right. The ability to explore different design ideas early and provide a working demonstration to customers earlier will significantly increase the success of a product launch.  

Read more about these challenges and how S2C technology can help.

IP Development

IP is the building block of today’s complex designs.  No matter if you are designing an IP for commercial sales or internal project needs, having a fully validated IP is essential.   IP should be tested with a large number of test patterns, validated in a real system environment and be run using real software.  Furthermore, IP that is created for external users should be easily demonstrated and evaluated to minimize system-on-chip (SoC) integration time.  

Read more about these challenges and how S2C technology can help.

Hardware Verification

We all know that complexities in design and shrinking time-to-market windows are driving up design and verification costs.  Simulation and emulation, although useful, are slow and for the later also costly. Furthermore, both simulation and emulation can hit a wall when it comes to identifying critical corner case bugs.  A hardware platform such a FPGA prototyping is more cost-effective and much faster with the ability to test system designs at speed to provide an accurate assessment of design behavior.  However, compiling complex designs to multiple FPGAs can still be time-consuming and debugging designs with multiple FPGAs can be difficult. 

Read more about these challenges and how S2C technology can help.

System Validation

Validating that the functionality of the design behaves, as intended, is a critical step in the design and verification flow.  There are obstacles to obtaining true validation however.  Often substantiating a design’s behavior is done using methods that don’t depict an accurate picture of operation in a real environment.  For instance, the use of simulation can only provide you with a partial assessment because it can’t cover multiple IP blocks working together.  This sort of inaccuracy can lead to critical errors in the design being missed.  In order to obtain a full understanding of behavior, the design needs to run on hardware in a real-world environment.  Even if this is done, the hardware performing the validation may be too slow to provide the real-time assessment that is needed.  To alleviate these issues, designers have turned to building their own FPGA prototyping environments to confirm design behavior at speed, but building in-house prototyping systems is tricky and comes with its own inherent challenges. 

Read more about these challenges and how S2C technology can help.

Software Development

Early software and/or firmware development on FPGA prototypes, pre-silicon, has become more important as many unforeseen software bugs stem from the complexity of integrating operating system (OS), applications, and hardware. Most projects can't afford to wait until the silicon is back from the foundry to start software validation. An at-speed FPGA prototype allows for many extra months of rigorous software development and software validation at the crucial software-hardware integration stage.  In addition, the larger the design, the more system replicates are required increasing development budgets.  The low cost of FPGA prototyping systems enables project managers to replicate more platforms to speed up software development.  

Read more about these challenges and how S2C technology can help.

Compatibility Testing

Almost all electronic devices today need to communicate with other devices either through the Internet or at the very least Point-to-Point.  Subsequently, the amount of field and compatibility testing has increased dramatically.   Engineers need to cover a large number of test environments to encompass permutations of hardware compatibility such as processor used or DRAM type, software compatibility such as OS or application SW, and network compatibility such as communication protocols, network service provider policies, etc..  In addition, many test environments are hard to set up in a lab and need to be tested in the field.  

FPGA prototyping systems offer both portability and high performance making them an obvious choice for tackling field/compatibility testing. However, management of a large number of prototypes can be a challenging task especially when multiple sites are doing co-development/testing with many end users who are not familiar with FPGA hardware.  

Read more about these challenges and how S2C technology can help.