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Proceedings Paper

Some experiences using system-on-chip buses
Author(s): Pedro P Carballo; Pablo Santos; Margarita Marrero; Antonio Nunez
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Paper Abstract

Advances in fabrication and design technologies have contributed to integrate a complete system on a chip. A system-on-chip (SoC) is generally composed of a microprocessor core, on-chip memory and one or more specific coprocessors IPs. One of the major drawbacks of this approach is the differences in the interfaces that each virtual component (VC) of the SoC presents. The idea of a common bus infrastructure allows us to smooth the system integration and has been considered as a design solution for SoC architectures. This paper presents a review of different alternatives for SoC buses and summarizes some experiences of their use. Different alternatives exist for SoC buses. ARM has proposed AMBA (Advanced Microcontroller Bus Architecture) as an open specification that serves as a framework for SoC design. AMBA is a bus architecture multiplayer for high performance SoC designs. AMBA support multi-master configurations where a bus arbiter must be included. AMBA-Lite is a simpler alternative if you are using only one master. IBM uses CoreConnect Bus architecture as a SoC solution for buses. CoreConnect share some similarities with AMBA because both use a multilayer bus to accommodate different speeds in the system: AHB and PLB can be compared. The same situation occurs for APB and OPB. Other alternatives can be found. Wishbone is an Open Bus Specification form that tries to solve the problem of IP integration. The idea is to specify a common interface between cores to accelerate the development of virtual components. VSIA has proposed Virtual Component Interface (VCI) as a solution to solve the problem of virtual component integration. VCI specify three types of protocols depending on the level of complexity: Peripheral, Basic and Advanced VCI. The development of the IPs compatible with any of the SoC buses above presented is a complex problem. One solution is the use of wrappers that adapts the interface of the Virtual Component to the protocol supported by the SoC buses. The two main characteristics of these wrappers are that the increased in latency and area would be as low as possible. The second solution is to design the IP with the final environment in mind.

Paper Details

Date Published: 21 April 2003
PDF: 12 pages
Proc. SPIE 5117, VLSI Circuits and Systems, (21 April 2003); doi: 10.1117/12.501356
Show Author Affiliations
Pedro P Carballo, Univ. de Las Palmas de Gran Canaria (Spain)
Pablo Santos, Univ. de Las Palmas de Gran Canaria (Spain)
Margarita Marrero, Univ. de Las Palmas de Gran Canaria (Spain)
Antonio Nunez, Univ. de Las Palmas de Gran Canaria (Spain)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 5117:
VLSI Circuits and Systems
Jose Fco. Lopez; Juan A. Montiel-Nelson; Dimitris Pavlidis, Editor(s)

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