Leading FPGA Architectures are Meeting the Connectivity Challenge

Since their introduction nearly 20 years ago, FPGAs have grown into a multi-billion dollar segment of the semiconductor industry. Market forces and advanced technologies are converging in such a way that the future for these programmable SRAM devices remains bright. These market forces include the continuing convergence of datacom and telecom, tremendous growth in the metro space, new services and delivery options at the edge of the network and the relentless demand for overall bandwidth. As equipment vendors adjust their product portfolios to address the changing market landscape, they are confronted with a complex mix of protocols and standards that presents a true system connectivity challenge. FPGAs have always thrived at the confluence of disparate standards and technologies, and these market forces have been a boon to the FPGA industry.

In addition, TEMs (Telecom Equipment Vendors) are increasingly using off-the-shelf hardware and software solutions that have fueled the use of ASSPs at the expense of internally developed ASICs. As the role of ASSPs grew, so too did the need to bridge them to one another. FPGAs were called upon to fill the role of bridging different vendor's ASSPs to one another. Major market trends, strategic decisions at the major systems houses and dramatic improvements in FGPA technology have made FPGAs the device of choice for system connectivity.

This white paper has examined the role played by FPGAs in meeting today's connectivity challenge. Increasingly, equipment vendors are turning to FPGAs to meet the challenges imposed by rapidly changing and evolving standards and protocols as the network continues to evolve. Demand for bandwidth, the introduction of new services and the integration of these services onto existing equipment platforms are all drivers that create the need for system connectivity. The LatticeSC FPGA has been designed as a platform technology to facilitate the implementation of the many connectivity challenges that designers face today.

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