Benefits of FPGAs in Mil/Aero Interface Applications

FPGA Advantages in Interface Applications

Embedded networks require data movement solutions that are reliable and high-performing across many environments. For example, an embedded sensor processor will move data throughout its platform by utilizing network interface protocols. In order to transport this data, it’s often advantageous to use an FPGA-based interface solution over general-purpose processors and other ASICs to maximize data flow and control. Should you be considering FPGA-based solutions for your test & embedded interface applications? In many cases, the answer is yes.

 

What Are Some Advantages of Using FPGAs

One main advantage of FPGAs is their ability to be highly tailored to a specific application and later reprogrammed to meet new requirements. ASICs can also be tailored to a specific application, but development is costly and extremely time-consuming. FPGAs can provide the ability to develop special-purpose hardware more expeditiously and without the cost associated with spinning an ASIC design.

Another major advantage of FPGAs is the ability to perform many data operations simultaneously. A general purpose processor normally does one task and moves on to the next. FPGAs allow you to process many tasks in parallel. This is especially useful and more efficient when handling large data sets. Sort, filter, and decimate operations are done more efficiently and allow the primary processors to focus on the signal processing algorithms. This saves on overall system power and resource consumption.

Finally, embedded network interface cards must be able to withstand rugged conditions such as extreme temperatures and vibration. FPGAs have an advantage over many standard commercial processors in that they are available in extended temperature and military-grade packages. In addition to the rugged package options, FPGAs are often supported over long lifespans. This long lifetime availability, coupled with their reliable nature makes them a top choice in military and aerospace applications that encounter extreme temperatures and conditions like high-altitude, shock, vibration, and salt corrosion.

Customizable FPGA Interface Solutions

Key advantages of FPGAs are their flexibility and reprogrammability. While FPGA interface solutions are available off the shelf from New Wave DV, our partners are empowered to add their own algorithms to the FPGA fabric should they choose to customize.

With the life cycles of many platforms lasting decades, designers need to make incremental updates to systems over time. Often, new COTS equipment may not have the required native interfaces to connect directly to the platform.

FPGA-based protocol bridges are an ideal solution in this scenario, allowing legacy and new protocols, such as RDMA or RoCEv2, to bridge with a protocol like sFPDP, for example. These FPGA bridge implementations allow new COTS equipment to be used on existing platforms while requiring no changes to the existing equipment on that platform.

For example, a new mission computer could be updated without replacing every sensor on the platform. This provides increased capability and lifespan at a significantly reduced cost.FPGA customizations can include protocols, speeds, port counts, and other non-standard features. New Wave DV’s team of engineers can accommodate your customization needs.

 

Learn More About the Advantages of FPGA in Interface Applications

Still have questions about the advantages of FPGA-based interface hardware, and how it can fit into your applications? Get in touch today to learn more or explore our FPGA interface offerings.