Frequently Asked Questions


1. What is Orion?

Orion represents a new way of designing and optimizing SoC on-chip-networks (NoC)-- that algorithmically solves the varied challenges faced by current day SoC architects.  Orion uses a number of algorithmic innovations drawn from computer and telecom networks.  It refines them for NoC and provides robust end-to-end QoS support and deadlock avoidance guarantees that are essential for modern-day SoC designs.  All optimizations are performed without sacrificing power or performance.  Orion delivers a power-efficient, automated interconnect for a variety of SoCs, from mobile to high-performance SoCs in enterprise computing and networking.  

2. What protocols does Orion support?

Orion supports all standard industry protocols as well as a variety of customer-specific proprietary protocols.

3. What kind of debug features does Orion offer?

Orion provides a comprehensive set of debug mechanisms to enable pre-silicon and post-silicon verification and debugging.  Some capabilities/features include:

  • Detailed NoC routing information
  • RTL simulation-based checkers and monitors
  • Automated debugging tools
  • Quick dependency & deadlock analysis
  • Error registers and interrupts on each NoC bridges
  • Hookup to industry standard trace and debug IP
4. Our designs are very complex with multiple user profiles. Can Orion support that?

Yes.  Traffic speicifications in Orion support multiple traffic profiles.  During NoC construction, optimizations were done to ensure enough capacity and channels were emplaced to support individual use-case/ profile requirements and not all profiles simultaneously.  This produces an efficient NoC design that support a variety of traffic profiles without over-provisioming the capapcity and bandwidth.

5. Why buy Orion?
  • 10X faster design time: We have tools and collateral to make every phase of the SoC design cycle - architecture, RTL design & verification, back-end physical design - gets done quicker. More importantly, by providing early information, we allow parallelism
  • 20% better performance: Orion is built using NocStudio, a powerful synthesis engine, that uses machine learning techniques to optimize the network and extracts better performance (Lower latency and/or higher BW) from the interconnect 
  • 30% better area: Alternatively, for a given performance target, we can generate interconnect solutions that dramatically reduce the footprint of the NoC 


1. Is it suitable only for the interconnect between subsystems or can it be used within a subsystem as well?

NetSpeed Orion is a highly configurable, heterogeneous interconnect solution. It can be applied to connect different sub-systems, interconnect blocks within a sub-system as well as provide a total SoC-level interconnect solution.

2. Can it support dynamic address remap?

Yes, NetSpeed Orion supports dynamic address mapping. The address remapping is achieved through dynamically programming the NoC registers.

3. Can it support address interleaving between many bus slaves?

Yes, Orion supports full address interleaving.

4. Can it support reorder buffer on the AXI slave port?

Yes, NetSpeed Orion supports reorder buffers. The ports are configurable to enable reordering as well as the size of the reorder buffer.

5. Can we divide the NoC for PR's partition dividing reason?

Yes, the NoC could be partitioned to facilitate the synthesis/placement/routing hardening process.

6. Can we add any register slice between modules or inner modules for timing constraint?

Yes, pipeline registers can be added between two adjacent routers/bridges for timing closure.


7. Can it do burst splitting on AXI slave interface?

Yes, Orion can split requests at configurable cache line boundaries.

8. How can we connect it to any multi-port DDR controller?

The number of ports in any agent can be specified at configuration time in NocStudio (NetSpeed’s SoC Architecture Synthesis platform). Each port can be configured to accept requests from different address ranges.

9. Can be FIFO be added on some bus wires, in the case of unbalanced bandwidth?

NetSpeed Orion is a heterogeneous NoC where each of the FIFO is sized based on your bandwidth requirements. On top of this, a user can individually configure FIFO depths on a per-link basis.

10. Could it support part of AMBA protocol to save some area? (Such as not support Wrap command on some AXI port)

Yes, Orion supports partial implementation of AMBA protocol.      


1. What does mean when you say you have end-to-end QoS?

End-to-end QoS begins with describing SoC level traffic QoS requirements to NetSpeed NocStudio (NetSpeed’s SoC Architecture Synthesis Platform). NocStudio will then translate the requirements and construct a NoC IP that meets SoC level requirements in an algorithmic, robust and efficient manner.

2. What's the number NoC can support for AxQOS bit? 2/3/4?

Orion supports 4-bit ID for Amba QoS as defined in the protocol.

3. Can it generate QoS bit itself?

Orion has a built-in QoS scheme that delivers end-to-end SoC level QoS. NetSpeed Orion supports multiple QoS mechanisms: traffic isolation, strict priority-based and weighted allocations. Additionally, NoC virtual channels are algorithmically optimized to best fit floorplan, connectivity and to reduce power.

4. Can it solve the Head-Of-Line problem on bus request direction due to QoS and the Head-Of-Line problem on bus response direction due to multi-port AXI interleaved slave?

NetSpeed Orion does not have head-of-line blocking issues. It uses a fundamentally different approach to delivering QoS. A demo of NocStudio will be able to demonstrate our approach and our differentiation. Please contact us for more details.


1. Can we get the bandwidth or latency number after reading any performance register?

Yes, NetSpeed Orion supports multiple performance registers in the NoC. These performance registers are programmable and can be used to measure bandwidth, latency and other notable events at runtime. These performance registers are accessible through a separate physical layer called the “RegBus”.

2. How do we debug the bus behavior?

We provide a comprehensive set of debug mechanism to enable pre-silicon and post-silicon verification and debugging. Some of the capabilities/features include:

  • Detailed NoC routing information
  • RTL simulation-based checkers and monitors
  • Automated debugging tools
  • Quick dependency & deadlock analysis


1. Can it support asynchronous clock domain crossing? Can it support synchronous clock domain crossing (clock ratio from 1:N to N:1)?

Yes, we support both async as well as a 1:N and N:1 clock domain crossing.

2. What kind of dynamic clock gating does Orion support?

External system-level clock gating, adaptive coarse-grained clock gating (which automatically gates inactive blocks) and fine-grained clock gating.

3. Does Orion support partial clock gating or shutdown?

Yes, we support partial clock gating under system firmware control or NoC adaptive control.


1. If we need to divide NoC to many voltage domains, do you have any asynchronous voltage domain crossing bridge?

Yes, we will allow insertion of async FIFOs in our router that will enable asynchronous voltage domain crossing bridge as well.

2. If we need to divide NoC to many power domains, can we divide the bus anywhere?

Yes, the NoC can be divided across power domain boundaries. On top of this, Orion provides a comprehensive Low Power solution.  It optimizes power-domain allocation based on SoC level power profiles and power mixes. A demo of NocStudio will be able to demonstrate our sophisticated low-power approach. Please contact us for more details


1. Could it support ARM's Trust Zone feature?

Yes, we support Trust Zone feature. Orion provides a comprehensive set of multi-layered security features. It supports ARM Trust Zone controller which gates the memory. It also has native support for dynamic security control including filtering of requests based on TrustZone bit. Finally, through the configurable address maps, it can restrict access to specific slave address ranges.

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