Microsemi Announces LiteFast Serial Communication Protocol to Reduce Customers’ Design-In Efforts and Time to Market

Microsemi Corporation (Nasdaq: MSCC), a leading provider of semiconductor solutions differentiated by power, security, reliability and performance, today announced the availability of its new LiteFast solution, a proprietary lightweight, high-speed, low latency, point-to-point serial communication protocol. Embedded systems across a wide variety of applications use high-speed serial interface and protocols to transfer data at speeds higher than 1 gigabit per second (Gbps). LiteFast enables customers to reduce design-in efforts and time to market with its easy implementation of high-speed serial links leveraging Serializer/Deserializer (SerDes) transceiver blocks within SmartFusion™2 system-on-chip (SoC) field programmable gate arrays (FPGAs), IGLOO™2 FPGAs and RTG4™ high-speed signal processing radiation-tolerant FPGAs without the need for heavy logic utilization, greatly reducing cost and power.


“LiteFast allows customers to easily integrate additional features into Microsemi’s award-winning FPGAs  by providing pre-synthesized intellectual property (IP) cores, an IP reference design and graphical user interface (GUI)-based demonstrations enabling them to implement a lightweight serial communication protocol into their applications,” said Chowdhary Musunuri, senior director of design services and solutions, at Microsemi. “Customers who do not want the overhead of existing standards such as Serial RapidIO, serial Ethernet or PCIe can now use Microsemi’s LiteFast, making this the ideal pre-validated option for those needing a viable low cost, high-speed, low latency point-to-point solution.”


Microsemi’s new IP solution is designed for applications requiring high-speed serial communication links in back/control planes, chip-to-chip and board-to-board applications, high-performance bridging solutions, network interface cards, enterprise switches, data centers and medical applications. In addition, space customers can benefit from LiteFast’s easy implementation of multiple high-speed serial links in applications involving wired connectivity, helping to improve the system-level bandwidths.


According to Chaitanya Kumar, principal analyst and CEO at IndustryARC, medical and industrial systems globally are increasingly adopting backplane circuit boards and line cards to make systems modular and scalable, and are using high-speed serial interface to easily transfer data. According to the market research firm’s study from 2015 on critical care medical products, the global market for medical equipment in imaging, surgical and patient monitoring is growing at the rate of 5.7 percent over the forecast period from 2015-2020.


In addition to medical applications, LiteFast is ideal for target markets including networking, data center, industrial and aerospace, and supports Microsemi’s goal to strengthen its high-speed serial interface SerDes solutions portfolio. The solution comes with pre-synthesized and validated IP cores (transmitter and receiver), a demonstration design and complete documentation which reduces the design and validation time. Designs can be easily reused across multiple platforms using Libero SoC Design Suite, a comprehensive, easy to learn, easy to adopt development toolset for designing with Microsemi’s power efficient FPGAs and SoC FPGAs. In addition, LiteFast is validated with a hardware platform using the company’s SmartFusion2 Security Evaluation Kit, which has a 90K logic elements (LEs) SmartFusion2 SoC FPGA device.


Key Features

  • Supports x 1, x 2 and x 4 lanes per SerDes
  • Very little utilization of FPGA logic resources (lightweight)
  • Low latency
  • Idle frame for link establishment and data frame for data transfer
  • Idle frame when no data is transmitted
  • Built in flow control, word alignment, block alignment, lane alignment and hot-plug support
  • Serial full-duplex or simplex operation
  • Flow control through token exchange