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Insider: FPGAs Beat Out ASICs

NEW YORK -- Telecom equipment manufacturers are relying more on field-programmable gate arrays (FPGAs) than on application-specific integrated circuits (ASICs) for low- to medium-volume production of telecom systems, attracted by the added flexibility that FPGAs provide once deployed in the field, according to results of an exclusive worldwide survey of product engineers and designers conducted by Light Reading's Components Insider (, a paid research service of Light Reading Inc. (

Survey results are presented and analyzed in "ASICs & FPGAs for Telecom Applications: A Buyer Survey," an all-new report that covers equipment manufacturers' deployment plans for ASICs, FPGAs, application-specific standard products (ASSPs), and intellectual property cores and development tools. The 18-page report also includes a breakdown of specific telecom applications that equipment manufacturers are targeting with FPGAs, ASICs, and ASSPs.

The 91 industry professionals participating in the survey include equipment manufacturer engineers, product developers, and managers from more than 50 major equipment makers, including industry leaders Alcatel, Cisco Systems, Ericsson, Huawei Technologies, Lucent Technologies, Motorola, Nortel Networks, Siemens, and Tellabs. All told, respondents rated nearly three dozen product suppliers for the overall quality of their products and for market leadership.

"FPGAs provide a flexible solution for many telecom applications," notes Simon Stanley, research analyst for Light Reading's Components Insider and author of the report. "They can be modified not only during system development, but also once they are deployed in the field. The use of FPGAs significantly reduces time to market by removing the silicon manufacturing cycle associated with ASIC development. FPGA vendors further reduce time to market through the introduction of telecom-specific intellectual property cores and design services."

Key findings of "ASICs & FPGAs for Telecom Applications: A Buyer Survey" include the following:

  • 90 percent of survey respondents said their company now uses FPGAs
  • Xilinx is viewed as the leading FPGA vendor, with more than 60 percent of respondents saying their company uses Xilinx as a supplier
  • ASICs continue to be used by the majority of systems manufacturers
  • IBM earned top scores for ASIC market leadership from survey respondents
  • Intellectual property cores are key to FPGA usage in telecom and networking systems, and ARM, Mentor Graphics, and Xilinx are viewed by respondents as the leading suppliers of this technology

"ASICs & FPGAs for Telecom Applications: A Buyer Survey" is available as part of an annual subscription (6 issues) to Light Reading's Components Insider, priced at $1,295. Individual reports are available for $900.

To subscribe, or for more information, please visit:

For more information about Light Reading's full line of Insider research services, please visit:

To request a free executive summary of the report, or for details on multi-user licensing options, please contact:

Jeff Claudino
Director of Sales
Insider Research Services
[email protected]

Press/analyst contact:

Dennis Mendyk
Managing Director
Heavy Reading
[email protected]


About Light Reading
Founded in 2000, Light Reading Inc. ( is the ultimate source for technology and financial analysis of the communications industry, leading the media sector in terms of traffic, content, and reputation. It reaches an extensive audience of executives and technologists within the telecom and enterprise networking communities, as well as the financial/industry analysts and investors who track these sectors. Light Reading was acquired by United Business Media in August 2005, and operates as a unit of CMP Technology.

About CMP Technology
CMP Technology ( is a marketing solutions company serving the technology industry. Through its market-leading portfolio of trusted information brands, CMP has earned the confidence of more technology professionals than any other media company. As a result, CMP is the premier provider of access, insight and actionable programs designed to connect sellers and buyers in ways that yield superior return on investment. CMP Technology is a subsidiary of United Business Media (, a global provider of news distribution and specialist information services with a market capitalization of more than $3 billion.