End of Life for merchant silicon chips or ASIC components is a constant struggle for many equipment manufacturers, especially when product longevity of 15 years or more is the norm, for example in the telecom, healthcare, and energy industries. A supplier announces a discontinued availability of a component and consequently, customers scramble for replacement parts or are forced to do a redesign of their product to ensure continued supply of systems.
A Tier 1 Telecom network operator had been deploying our multiplexer system as a standard business access solution for many years when End of Life was announced for a critical ASIC in our product. The customer quarterly demand planning remained constant for several more years, and the introduction of an alternate multiplexer product was considered too costly and would take years to integrate into an existing environment.
By using an FPGA to replace an End-of-Life ASIC component, the manufacturing and supply of the product could be guaranteed for several more years. The change required the introduction of a new order code for the affected board, but there was no need for new product certification, product verification testing, or any changes to the network management systems. Also, installation procedures or deployment practices remained as before the change.
We converted our EoL ASIC to an FPGA. All the submodules were immediately available as reusable assets. As an additional benefit, we could provide a short turnaround time for an FPGA design for a new customer who wanted a similar product.