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Exploring FPGA network on chip implementations across various application and network loads

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2 Author(s)
Schelle, G. ; Dept. of Comput. Sci., Univ. of Colorado at Boulder, Boulder, CO ; Grunwald, D.

The network on chip will become a future general purpose interconnect for FPGAs much like todaypsilas standard OPB or PLB bus architectures. However, performance characteristics and reconfigurable logic resource utilization of different network on chip architectures vary greatly relative to bus architectures. Current mainstream FPGA parts only support very small network on chip topologies, due to the high resource utilization of virtual channel based implementations. This observation is reflected in related research where only modest 2times2 or 2times3 networks are demonstrated on FPGAs. Naively it would be assumed that these complex network on chip architectures would perform better than simplified implementations. We show this assumption to be incorrect under light network loading conditions across 3 separate application domains. Using statistical based network loading, a synthetic benchmarking application, a cryptographic accelerator, and a 802.11 transmitter are each demonstrated across network on chip architectures. From these experiments, it can be seen that network on chips with complex routing and switching functionality are still useful under high network loading conditions. Additionally, it is also shown for our network on chip implementations, a simple solution that uses 4-5times less logic resources can provide better network performance under certain conditions.

Published in:

Field Programmable Logic and Applications, 2008. FPL 2008. International Conference on

Date of Conference:

8-10 Sept. 2008