Explain Network-On-Chip (NoC). What Are The Advantages Of NoC Design Over SoC Design?

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NoC is a network-based communication subsystem on a semiconductor integrated
chip, mostly between SoC modules. SoC is a chip that integrates components of a computer including a central processing unit (CPU), graphics, and memory interfaces. In the SoC designs, pre-designed intellectual property (IP) cores/blocks are becoming an important part. As dimensions of semiconductor chips are shrinking and more IP cores are added to them, many SoC chips are too complex to utilise a traditional data bus or crossbar interconnect approach. The physical resources carrying data on the chips and quality of services begin to crumble.

NoC technology brings notable improvements over conventional data bus and crossbar communication architectures. NoC scheme is to organise communication between operating modules located on the same chip. The scheme improves the scalability and power efficiency of complex SoCs. A typical schematic multiprocessor design with SoC/NoC is shown in Fig. 1.

Some of the advantages of NoC over SoC are given below:

  1. NoC provides structured architecture, lowering complexity and cost of chip design
  2. Allows reuse of components, architectures, design methods, and tools
  3. Provides efficient and high-performance interconnect
  4. Improves scalability of communication architecture
  5. Establishes a relationship between the processor blocks by routing the data packets, providing flexible and easy accommodation of changes
  6. Reduces wire routing congestion and avoids timing closure issues
  7. Simplifies switching and routing functions to achieve higher operating frequencies
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