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Co-Creation SoC Design and its Application for Wireless IC Design by Edge OEMs

Competitiveness at the edge depends critically on multiple factors. Functionality of course but also low power and connectivity through one or more standards: Wi-Fi, Bluetooth connectivity, UWB, NB-IoT, 5G and more. All ideally integrated into one SoC for significant margin advantage at volume. Advantages of this kind separate market leaders from low margin options. But you can’t build that differentiation with off-the-shelf chips. This lead can only come through custom hardware design. Hardware which requires a lot of specialized expertise – in SoC design, in Wireless IC design, RF integration and in the many factors that go into tuning those designs for performance, power, minimum area/cost and optimization for wireless compliance testing.


(Source: Intrinsix)

Market demand

Fortune Business Insights reports that the global market for ICs will grow from about $490B in 2021 to well over $1T in 2028. Given a background of generally soft demand during the pandemic this is staggering growth, much of it attributable to systems entrants looking for differentiated chip designs. One-size-fits-all solutions can’t meet the need because the range of possibilities is simply too great and broad market products would be too expensive, power-hungry, and still not differentiable per OEM. The better option is application specific SoC designs optimized to the application. Together with application specific wireless IC designs optimized to the communication protocols appropriate to an application. The minimum of options to meet the objective at the right performance, power and cost. Unfortunately this ideal goal is often out of reach because most systems builders have limited experienced in SoC design and are even less experience in wireless IC design and RF integration.

Co-creation SoC design and ASIC design services

Clearly the answer is to work with an experienced hardware design team. While still maximizing the advantage of custom hardware through closer collaboration than feasible through a turnkey ASIC service. Building on industry leading wireless and other IPs, together with 3rd party IPs and possibly internal OEM IPs. Adding hardware engines to optimize the strengths of differentiated algorithms and software while also allowing further power reduction for the targeted OEM use-cases. Managing the complexities of wireless communications – interference between Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, being current on the latest 5G options such as Reduced Capability (RedCap), and having the know-how to manage the very challenging RF stage. All delivered from concept through verification, layout and tapeout.

CEVA offers a co-creation service through its Intrinsix group, together with its leading position in wireless IP, providing all these capabilities in a structured and collaborative design process. This group boasts 35 years of on-time and on-spec design services, for IPs, subsystems and full chips, all the way from concept to production. Projects that span digital, RF and mmWave, analog and physical design and 2.5D chiplet solutions, all the way up to billion+ transistor platforms.

A very important consideration here is that many significant semiconductor companies, including wireless experts, already outsource some of their wireless subsystem design to the Intrinsix group (subsystem design is another co-creation model we support). When internal staffing is already stretched these companies turn to Intrinsix for help on derivatives, cost reductions and system enhancements. Confident that this team will develop, to their demanding quality expectations, subsystems built on CEVA basebands and DSPs, integrated with the semiconductor company’s RF stage. If those experts trust Intrinsix, you can too.

Sample applications

Some of the projects in which CEVA co-creation (full-chip or subsystem) designs have been deployed include smart home assistants, personal audio, medical applications, and logistics. CEVA/Intrinsix also supports projects in wireless infrastructure, especially where equipment OEMs are migrating from software and/or FPGA-based implementations.

In the next blog we’ll dive into more detail on the engagement model for co-creation and the way we structure a typical SoC design and wireless IC design.


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