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Arasan Chip Systems: Delivering on a Promise...

Visakh Viswambharan
Friday, February 1, 2008
Visakh Viswambharan
“We have licensed multiple IP Cores from Arasan and have been impressed with the quality of the IP and the support structure that facilitates the internalization and integration of the IP into our chips. Their professional approach and the expertise and know how that they bring along makes all the difference,” says Mohamed Ben-Romdhane, Vice President of Engineering at Newport Media. He rounds off his observations on having been an Arasan customer with a statement that closely resembles Arasan’s ‘the bus stops here’ tagline: “We got on the bus with Arasan.”

Coming to market with a unique professional approach, Arasan Chip Systems is a leading provider of reusable Intellectual Property (IP) solutions focused on mobile and portable multimedia standards, connectivity and bus interfaces for the electronic design community. In today’s design environment, IP has become key to the control and transfer of data between the key components within an electronic device. Whether it is the processor talking to storage memory, the graphics card talking to the display, or a camera connecting to the processor, it is made possible only through these interfaces and controllers. In addition to its products comprising IP cores, Verification IP, hardware platforms, and software stacks/drivers, Arasan also provides comprehensive and professional design services, featuring consulting, front-end design, driver and firmware development as well as customization and integration services.

Looking at its offerings, one would assume that developing IP cores—controllers and bus interfaces at that—is an immensely challenging job. However, in digging a little deeper, it seems that anyone with decent engineering skills and a fair amount of experience can develop the IP cores his company makes. Various industry bodies, e.g. IEEE or USB-IF, publish detailed specifications for the standards based protocols on which the IP cores are developed; and in the spirit of what Silicon Valley was built upon, any engineer with a laptop and a garage can develop the IP. Like the HP of old starting in their garage, starting an IP company seems like it would be a great opportunity for any good engineer. Not entirely, says Ganesan, President of Arasan Chip Systems. He adds that the challenge is not in developing an IP core, but in providing designers a “Total IP Solution”. It goes beyond just giving designers some IP.

So….What then is the point of having a cover story on a company which employs about 150 people worldwide and is profitable? Is it as easy as it may seem? More so, why aren’t there more IP companies around today? The answer, or part of it, lies hidden in the questions.

In Commonality Lies the Difference

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