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Wireless System on Virtual Platform Evaluation

Mähl, Tobias LU and Gustafsson, Joel LU (2017) EITM01 20171
Department of Electrical and Information Technology
Abstract
The most common way to develop System-on-Chip's (SoC) today is to utilize hardware design on a Field programmable gate array (FPGA). By utilizing the hardware on an FPGA, the opportunity to verify the hardware and start software design before implementing the final solution on silicon is possible. However, using an FPGA as a reference model for a final design gives a slightly imprecise estimation regarding required hardware such as memory and bus sizes. Trying to counteract this weakness, specific Electronic System-Level (ESL) Design tools has been developed in order to simplify production and increase capabilities to analyze and optimize during the developing phase. ARM SoC Designer is such a tool which provides a virtual environment for... (More)
The most common way to develop System-on-Chip's (SoC) today is to utilize hardware design on a Field programmable gate array (FPGA). By utilizing the hardware on an FPGA, the opportunity to verify the hardware and start software design before implementing the final solution on silicon is possible. However, using an FPGA as a reference model for a final design gives a slightly imprecise estimation regarding required hardware such as memory and bus sizes. Trying to counteract this weakness, specific Electronic System-Level (ESL) Design tools has been developed in order to simplify production and increase capabilities to analyze and optimize during the developing phase. ARM SoC Designer is such a tool which provides a virtual environment for simulation of integrated SoC’s to simulate whole systems at a cycle accurate level.
This Master's Thesis intend to evaluate ARM SoC Designer aspects and validity as an alternative to an FPGA when implementing and verifying a larger SoC system. To provide a thorough assessment of ARM SoC Designer, a cycle accurate model of the digital signal processing system of a general NB-IoT system was to be built and verified. Results shown, reveal that an implementation in ARM SoC Designer can be a valid representation of a preexisting wireless NB-IoT system currently developed on an FPGA board. Also that SoC Designer adds some very useful functionalities to traditional SoC development techniques but not without some significant flaws. (Less)
Popular Abstract
With rising complexity and highly competitive market of integrated circuits, new techniques to develop embedded systems are always needed in order to secure the quality and to streamline the production of circuits. The tool ARM SoC Designer tries to accomplish this through adjusting traditional System-on-Chip development by adding debugging and troubleshooting capabilities not present in current design techniques. The question is, will the use of SoC Designer help?
A System-on-Chip (SoC) is an especially designed chip that combines required electronic circuits of different components onto a single integrated chip, usually not bigger than a thumbnail. By directly building a chip containing all desired components instead of assemble... (More)
With rising complexity and highly competitive market of integrated circuits, new techniques to develop embedded systems are always needed in order to secure the quality and to streamline the production of circuits. The tool ARM SoC Designer tries to accomplish this through adjusting traditional System-on-Chip development by adding debugging and troubleshooting capabilities not present in current design techniques. The question is, will the use of SoC Designer help?
A System-on-Chip (SoC) is an especially designed chip that combines required electronic circuits of different components onto a single integrated chip, usually not bigger than a thumbnail. By directly building a chip containing all desired components instead of assemble multiple chips together makes it possible to manufacture the chips as small as possible and at the same time make them faster and more energy efficient than before. But the tininess of a SoC and the numerous amount components it is going to contain makes it also to a very complex system with a long and expensive developing process, where faults and errors are very hard to find and eliminate.
The procedure of designing and developing SoC have been almost the same for a very long time. But with the rising demands on chips with more capacity in less area puts a lot of pressure on the manufacturers in the industry. Therefore manufacturers and developers have been starting to look for better design tools to increase the possibility to analyze and optimize during development. One of these tools are ARM SoC Designer which provides a virtual environment for simulation of integrated SoC's with the promise of great debugging and verifying capabilities. ARM SoC Designer are able to do this by allowing the user to simulate the process step by step and to easily modify system parameters.
In order to evaluate ARM SoC Designer, a virtual model of an existing wireless system was built, tested and verified in the virtual environment. Different tests to analyze performance, accuracy, and debug- and troubleshooting capabilities were constructed and performed. With results showing great promise in categories accuracy and debugging, but left some things to be desired with performance and usability. This thesis can confirm that ARM SoC Designer does deliver an accurate representation of a SoC and that the verification capabilities are extremely helpful during implementation and testing. But, at the current performance in combination with a less good user experience, a steep learning curve and scarce documentation makes it difficult to recommend during a daily development basis. However, ARM SoC Designer shows a lot of promise if the usability can be enhanced slightly and performance be improved upon to such an extent that downtime of simulations won't be the majority of time consumed during usage. (Less)
Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:
author
Mähl, Tobias LU and Gustafsson, Joel LU
supervisor
organization
course
EITM01 20171
year
type
H2 - Master's Degree (Two Years)
subject
report number
LU/LTH-EIT 2017-601
language
English
id
8925823
date added to LUP
2017-09-27 09:40:48
date last changed
2017-09-27 09:40:48
@misc{8925823,
  abstract     = {The most common way to develop System-on-Chip's (SoC) today is to utilize hardware design on a Field programmable gate array (FPGA). By utilizing the hardware on an FPGA, the opportunity to verify the hardware and start software design before implementing the final solution on silicon is possible. However, using an FPGA as a reference model for a final design gives a slightly imprecise estimation regarding required hardware such as memory and bus sizes. Trying to counteract this weakness, specific Electronic System-Level (ESL) Design tools has been developed in order to simplify production and increase capabilities to analyze and optimize during the developing phase. ARM SoC Designer is such a tool which provides a virtual environment for simulation of integrated SoC’s to simulate whole systems at a cycle accurate level.
This Master's Thesis intend to evaluate ARM SoC Designer aspects and validity as an alternative to an FPGA when implementing and verifying a larger SoC system. To provide a thorough assessment of ARM SoC Designer, a cycle accurate model of the digital signal processing system of a general NB-IoT system was to be built and verified. Results shown, reveal that an implementation in ARM SoC Designer can be a valid representation of a preexisting wireless NB-IoT system currently developed on an FPGA board. Also that SoC Designer adds some very useful functionalities to traditional SoC development techniques but not without some significant flaws.},
  author       = {Mähl, Tobias and Gustafsson, Joel},
  language     = {eng},
  note         = {Student Paper},
  title        = {Wireless System on Virtual Platform Evaluation},
  year         = {2017},
}