Network-on-chip needs standardization to reach full potential

According to David Geer

As microprocessors have become more complex, on-chip communications, traditionally handled by buses, have become a performance bottleneck. Chip makers are looking into network-on-chip systems to address this issue.


“In five years, we will be using this NoC technology massively,” said STMicroelectronics’ Pistritto. For this to occur, though, Goossens said, the technology will have to be standardized and researchers must address the technology’s problem areas.


the lack of a standard interface could pose challenges for different types of NoCs when they need to communicate with one another.


Not all traditional network technologies work with NoCs. For example, TCP/IP entails too much latency.

The Open Core Protocol International Partnership thus developed the OCP standard for on-chip communications, with which some NoC vendors work.

Some companies use proprietary approaches. For example, chip designer Arteris works with its proprietary NoC Transaction and Transport Protocol, which functions like a universal data-translation protocol for intercore communication, said company president K. Charles Janac.

Source: “Networks on Processors Improve On-Chip Communications”, Computer, March 2009, pp. 17-20.

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