Just because IP complies with a spec doesn’t mean it can’t be tweaked. But what happens if you do tweak it?
Time to market and rising complexity are forcing the use of more third-party IP as well as increasing reuse of internally developed IP. But as more IP is added into SoCs, chipmakers are discovering some interesting things:
- Not all IP works together as planned, even when it’s well characterized. As with cars, performance and mileage vary greatly depending upon who’s driving—and who’s in the next lane.
- Even standard IP isn’t always standard. In fact, it’s frequently tweaked for differentiation.
- Mixing IP isn’t as straightforward as it sounds, and sometimes the best choices are counterintuitive.
- Expertise in working with IP is limited, particularly at the system level, a situation that will only get worse as companies develop fewer but more complex chips.
These developments haven’t gone unnoticed by IP vendors, of course. In technology, broad-based engineering issues are considered opportunities. But solving them isn’t so simple.