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Telecom equipment makers favor FPGAs over ASICs, survey finds

Posted: 15 Aug 2006 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:Light Reading's Components Insider? ASIC? FPGA? telecom equipment? survey?

Telecom equipment manufacturers are relying more on FPGAs than on ASICs for low- to medium-volume production of telecom systems, attracted by the added flexibility that FPGAs provide once deployed in the field, according to results of an exclusive worldwide survey of product engineers and designers conducted by Light Reading's Components Insider a paid research service of Light Reading Inc.

Survey results are presented and analyzed in "ASICs and FPGAs for Telecom Applications: A Buyer Survey," a report that covers equipment manufacturers' deployment plans for ASICs, FPGAs, application-specific standard products (ASSPs), and intellectual property cores and development tools. The 18-page report also includes a breakdown of specific telecom applications that equipment manufacturers are targeting with FPGAs, ASICs and ASSPs.

The 91 industry professionals participating in the survey include equipment manufacturer engineers, product developers, and managers from more than 50 major equipment makers, including industry leaders Alcatel, Cisco Systems, Ericsson, Huawei Technologies, Lucent Technologies, Motorola, Nortel Networks, Siemens and Tellabs.

"FPGAs provide a flexible solution for many telecom applications," said Simon Stanley, research analyst for Light Reading's Components Insider and author of the report, in a statement. "They can be modified not only during system development, but also once they are deployed in the field. The use of FPGAs significantly reduces time to market by removing the silicon manufacturing cycle associated with ASIC development. FPGA vendors further reduce time to market through the introduction of telecom-specific intellectual property cores and design services."

Key findings of the survey include 90 percent of survey respondents said their company now uses FPGAs; Xilinx viewed as the leading FPGA vendor, with more than 60 percent of respondents saying their company uses Xilinx as a supplier; ASICs continue to be used by the majority of systems manufacturers; IBM earned top scores for ASIC market leadership from survey respondents; IP cores are key to FPGA usage in telecom and networking systems; and ARM, Mentor Graphics and Xilinx are viewed by respondents as the leading suppliers of this technology.

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