Serial communication protocol enables high-speed links

8th September 2016
Daisy Stapley-Bunten

A provider of semiconductor solutions differentiated by power, security, reliability and performance, Microsemi, has announced the availability of its LiteFast solution, a proprietary lightweight, high-speed, low latency, point-to-point serial communication protocol. Embedded systems across a wide variety of applications use high-speed serial interface and protocols to transfer data at speeds higher than 1Gbps.

LiteFast enables customers to reduce design-in efforts and time to market with its easy implementation of high-speed serial links leveraging Serialiser/Deserialiser (SerDes) transceiver blocks within SmartFusion2 SoC FPGAs, IGLOO2 FPGAs and RTG4 high-speed signal processing radiation-tolerant FPGAs without the need for heavy logic utilisation, greatly reducing cost and power.

“LiteFast allows customers to easily integrate additional features into Microsemi’s award-winning FPGAs by providing pre-synthesised Intellectual Property (IP) cores, an IP reference design and Graphical User Interface (GUI)-based demonstrations enabling them to implement a lightweight serial communication protocol into their applications,” said Chowdhary Musunuri, Senior Director of design services and solutions, at Microsemi. “Customers who do not want the overhead of existing standards such as Serial RapidIO, serial Ethernet or PCIe can now use Microsemi’s LiteFast, making this the ideal pre-validated option for those needing a viable low cost, high-speed, low latency point-to-point solution.”

Microsemi’s new IP solution is designed for applications requiring high-speed serial communication links in back/control planes, chip-to-chip and board-to-board applications, high-performance bridging solutions, network interface cards, enterprise switches, data centres and medical applications. In addition, space customers can benefit from LiteFast’s easy implementation of multiple high-speed serial links in applications involving wired connectivity, helping to improve the system-level bandwidths.

According to Chaitanya Kumar, Principal Analyst and CEO at IndustryARC, medical and industrial systems globally are increasingly adopting backplane circuit boards and line cards to make systems modular and scalable, and are using high-speed serial interface to easily transfer data. According to the market research firm’s study from 2015 on critical care medical products, the global market for medical equipment in imaging, surgical and patient monitoring is growing at the rate of 5.7% over the forecast period from 2015-2020.

In addition to medical applications, LiteFast is ideal for target markets including networking, data centre, industrial and aerospace, and supports Microsemi’s goal to strengthen its high-speed serial interface SerDes solutions portfolio. The solution comes with pre-synthesised and validated IP cores (transmitter and receiver), a demonstration design and complete documentation which reduces the design and validation time. Designs can be easily reused across multiple platforms using Libero SoC Design Suite, a comprehensive, easy to learn, easy to adopt development toolset for designing with Microsemi's power efficient FPGAs and SoC FPGAs. In addition, LiteFast is validated with a hardware platform using the company’s SmartFusion2 Security Evaluation Kit, which has a 90K logic elements (LEs) SmartFusion2 SoC FPGA device.

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