Technology – FPGA Design Capabilities

Field Programmable Gate Arrays (FPGA) are an excellent alternative to an Application Specific Integrated Circuit (ASIC) in many circumstances. Whereas an ASIC contains hard-coded logic and analog functions, an FPGA is designed to be configured after it has been manufactured.

In other words, field programmable!

Modern FPGAs offer high amounts of configurable logic, internal memory, various compute engines, including DSPs and CPUs, and massive interface bandwidth. This enables a wide array of device functions, for example: data, image and signal processing, video analytics and compression, protocol conversion, sophisticated packet processing, machine learning applications, and many more.

Electronic equipment that make-use of FPGAs offer the following advantages:

  • Reduces the overall number of integrated circuits (ASICs) required to create the overall desired functionality.
  • Eliminates the need and costs associated with the design, development and lengthy fabrication process of a bespoke proprietary ASIC.
  • Provides flexibility after manufacturing to accept changes, for example new features.
  • Facilitates the opportunity to combine logic and logic that emulates microprocessors.
  • Saves space compared to multiple ASICs and the associated PCB routing.

In the early days of FPGA, the configuration was created using a hardware description language, however more recently higher-level design software, modeling and simulation tools, and automation techniques are used to avoid tedious and error-prone manual programming.

“We provide a solution for companies that desire the quality attributes of an ASIC for which the intended sales volume does not justify the tremendous investment in an ASIC.”

AimValley FPGA Design Expertise

Multi-vendor Capability
AimValley has a dedicated team with a long and rich experience working with several brands of FPGA including those of the big two, namely Xilinx and Intel (formerly Altera) plus experience working with others including Lattice and Microsemi. Our skilled Engineers are equipped and familiar with the tools, such as VHDL, Verilog, MATLAB, UVM and the FPGA supplier specific development environments.

Library of Intellectual Property
Many companies can design FPGA circuitry. AimValley offers additional value due to our 18-year history of developing FPGA solutions in telecom transport. On behalf of our customers AimValley leverages intellectual blocks to support its Custom Design Services. Our expert level legacy telecom services include TDM, SONET/SDH, OTN, CPRI, High Speed Ethernet, TDM over Packet, CES, switching, synchronization and much more. Specific expertise in critical path synchronization, timing and controlled ultra low latency in telecom/packet communications, including digital and hybrid clock recovery.

Efficient Design
The cost of design services is directly and proportionally related to the Engineering hours spent on any given project. AimValley has developed Automated tools to efficiently speed up verification and test and to ensure reliability and quality. Automated tools beyond FPGA register automation also for automated API generation. This saves time while improving reliability and eases change management.

Projects Large or Small
There are many sizes of FPGA devices, each having different levels of capability and complexity. AimValley has worked on very simple designs right up to the most complex and highest speed FPGA devices.

Comprehensive Verification
Unlike some other design houses, AimValley does not apply a casual approach to FPGA code. While it is true that FPGA code can be updated in the field through a version upgrade, that should not be an excuse for releasing immature code with unproven performance, sub-optimal reliability, and perhaps errors. For these reasons AimValley has adopted a process and workflow for FPGA development that is of the level of ASIC testing and verification. This not only includes a disciplined approach to design but a verification and test process that includes the introduction of scenario simulation, testing at scale, testing at limits of performance, and power cycle testing. Such rigor has been proven multiple times to vastly reduce product issues once products are put into service with end customers. 

ASIC prototyping with FPGA
Using its high-quality design tools and comprehensive verification methodologies, AimValley is trusted to do ASIC prototyping to verify circuitry prior to ASIC fab and to prove out reusable FPGA blocks.

Additional Strengths of AimValley Regarding FPGA
Regardless of the geographic locations AimValley is adept at remote working and adapting to the customer process and methods of working.

AimValley proven track record

A Trusted Partner for Your Success AimValley is often brought in early in development cycles by major electronic product and system companies to take advantage of our experience-based FPGA size/performance estimations leading to rightsizing of the FPGA based on the best selection from multiple FPGA vendors.
This is highly effective to control and optimize costs versus performance, choose the correct device, and to predict feasibility and development timelines. Engaging AimValley for FPGA work avoids expensive rework, and delivers designs on time, on budget with correct performances.

AimValley = no surprises!

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