One of the major advances in SoC design methodologies more than a decade ago was the decoupling of the network-on-chip (NoC) from the individual IP cores throughout the SoC. This was (and is) accomplished through the use of carefully specified sockets such as OCP, the old VSIA VCI and (somewhat later) AMBA-AXI, which establish clear boundaries of communication responsibility and thereby enable independent development of IP cores.
The decoupling methodology, enabled by the network agents that isolate the cores from the network fabric, allows for the optimum provision of the local operating environment for each functional core to best meet that core’s basic communication needs (e.g. timing, protocol, data widths and addressing). It was a significant step in the introduction of Sonics’ NoC products.