FPGA programmable hardware

The volume of data transferred over today's high-speed networks is rapidly growing. The speed of the growth has outpaced Moore’s law and CPUs are no longer able to scale their performance to process all the packets in the network. In order to meet performance requirements of data plane processing, many vendors select FPGA technology as an acceleration engine.


FPGA brings many advantages including high degree of parallelism, effectiveness with higher performance per watt compared to CPUs, and field programmability unlike ASICs. FPGAs are even being integrated on a single chip with CPUs to provide superb performance and flexibility. Configurability of an FPGA chip allows to use all of its elements simultaneously. Therefore, FPGA is able to implement and run highly parallel algorithms. An FPGA component implementing an algorithm can be instantiated multiple times to run truly in parallel, which multiplies overall performance. In addition, each component can be fine-tuned to achieve maximum performance. FPGAs are also very power efficient. With the same power consumption, a single FPGA can substitute many CPU cores. As a result of using FPGAs, it is possible to significantly reduce datacenter footprint by using fewer CPUs, building smaller appliances with lower power consumption.

In-field programmability of FPGAs allows to reprogram the chip without having physical access. It significantly eases an upgrade or troubleshooting of an FPGA-based appliance as you can do it remotely. Sophisticated boot system of FPGA-based cards of Netcope Technologies allows to repogram the card directly over PCI Express bus using a simple command-line tool. 

As for network traffic applications, using FPGA technology brings several interesting advantages. A single FPGA-based card can support multiple network standards. Netcope Technologies offers adapters with network interfaces for 100G Ethernet that can be split into  independent 50G/25G/10G Ethernet links in high-density configurations. Therefore, it is possible to use one hardware platform for two or more generations of network technologies protecting hardware investments.

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