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As a result of improvements in process technology, more and more components are being integrated into a single system-on-chip (SoC) design. Communication between these components is increasingly dominating critical system paths and frequently becomes the source of performance bottlenecks. It therefore becomes extremely important for designers to explore the communication space early in the design flow. Traditionally, pin-accurate bus cycle accurate (PA-BCA) models were used for exploring the communication space. To speed up simulation, transaction based bus cycle accurate (T-BCA) models have been proposed, which borrow concepts found in the transaction level modeling (TLM) domain. The cycle count accurate at transaction boundaries (CCATB) modeling abstraction was introduced for fast communication space exploration. In This work, we describe the mechanisms that produce the speedup in CCATB models and demonstrate the effectiveness of the CCATB exploration approach with the aid of a case study involving an AMBA 2.0 based SoC subsystem used in the multimedia application domain. We also analyze how the achieved simulation speedup scales with design complexity and show that SoC designs modeled at the CCATB level simulate 120% faster than PA-BCA and 67% faster than T-BCA models on average.