Craig Zajac and Troy Gilliland(10/16/2006 9:00 AM EDT)
The integration of "hard" intellectual property blocks--those delivered as GDSII databases--lets system designers focus on their core competency by outsourcing certain blocks that previously had to be developed internally. Consequently, purchasing and integrating hard IP blocks is becoming a way of life for SoC designers. Off-the-shelf IP blocks are available for almost every function--from A/D converters to ZigBee transceivers.
Selecting a quality IP supplier is a top concern in yielding a successful IP integration. To that end, the Virtual Socket Interface Alliance and the Fabless Semiconductor Association are working with companies to develop a standard, objective quality metric for hard IP blocks and their suppliers.
During the course of delivering such IP over the past several years, Impinj has witnessed a range of IP integration experiences, from the painless to the nearly disastrous. Most of the pitfalls can be avoided by following a few recommendations.
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