Low-power, cost-optimized FPGA family addresses multiple markets

February 14, 2017 //By Christoph Hammerschmidt
With a new, cost-optimized FPGA family called PolarFire goes Microsemi to the race about power vs performance vs price. The manufacturer claims that the new family features the industry’s lowest power at mid-range densities with 12.7 Gbps Serializer/Deserializer (SerDes) transceivers as well as best-in-class security and reliability. The sum of its properties makes this device suited for a wide range of applications within wireline access networks and cellular infrastructure, defense and commercial aviation markets, as well as industry 4.0 which includes the industrial automation and Internet of Things (IoT) markets.

According to Bruce Weyer, vice president and business unit manager at Microsemi, this non-volatile FPGA provides tangible power and cost benefits over SRAM FPGAs that feature 10 Gpbs transceivers and fills a void in the market.

Microsemi’s PolarFire FPGAs enable the company to increase its FPGA addressable market to over $2.5 billion covering both the low end and mid-range FPGA market segments. In addition, the innovative features of the new product family support Microsemi’s continued growth within the communications infrastructure market.

Today’s cellular infrastructure and wireline access networks are facing a rapid transformation, having to deliver terabytes of high value content to consumers while reducing operational and capital expenditure spend, as well as reducing their thermal and carbon footprint. The PolarFire FPGAs provide cost-effective bandwidth processing capabilities for the increasing number of converged 10 Gpbs ports with the lowest power footprint. They also address the market’s growing concerns over cyber security threats as well as reliability concerns that face deep submicron SRAM-based FPGAs as they relate to single event upsets (SEUs) in their configuration memory.

The new devices are designed for a number of applications within the communications market, including wireline access, network edge, metro (1-40G); wireless heterogeneous networks, wireless backhaul, smart optical modules and video broadcasting. The devices are also well-suited to applications within the defense and aerospace market, such as encryption and root of trust, secure wireless communications, radar and electronic warfare (EW), aircraft networking, actuation and control. Ideal applications for the FPGAs within the industrial market include process control and automation, machine vision processing and analytics, programmable logic controllers, industrial networking, and video and image processing.