Socionext Europe GmbH
Socionext Europe

Think Custom SoC. Think Socionext.

40 years expertise and innovation.

From start to finish – you can count on us.



Complex Applications need Custom SoCs

You have a problem. You cannot achieve the performance you need with your design; the power is too high as are the costs. There are no off-the-shelf components that offer you a solution and you have no in-house design capabilities for an ASIC approach.

Based on your target specification, our chip design experts will work with you to define the optimum SoC solution for your application. We focus on applications that need advanced process technologies with challenging complexity and demanding performance requirements. Our Custom SoC capabilities enable design optimization with the additional benefits of IP protection, product differentiation and security.


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ASIC or Custom SoC – What’s the difference?

The benefits of using custom chips at a system level have long been recognized. This approach enables optimization of feature set, performance, power consumption and final chip cost compared to both the use of ‘off-the-shelf’ standard products or FPGAs. It also enables a higher level of integration, with a consequent reduction in both space requirements and overall BOM cost.

The added value and benefits offered by custom chip design must of course be set against the development cost, including the NRE charges required by the custom chip provider for items such as chip implementation, IP access fees and mask charges amongst others.


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Custom SoC as an Automotive differentiator

The move towards autonomous vehicles continues to drive huge changes in automotive design. In-vehicle infotainment and advanced driver assistance systems are merging to enhance the driving experience whilst increasing safety. These new systems are extremely complex both in hardware and, increasingly, software terms.

Connectivity and seamless integration of mobile devices as well as simple and convenient operation through touch, voice and gesture control, together with customization options in areas such as lighting, audio and seating configuration are becoming increasingly important.


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Developing 5G Networking?

Socionext has a long standing history of state-of-the art Custom SoC for optical transport network applications, providing the world’s first 100G, 200G and 400G chipsets to the market and revolutionizing the telecom space.

These breakthroughs were achieved by Socionext’s unique ultra-high speed and high performance Analog-to-Digital-Converters (ADC), Digital-to Analog-Converters (DAC), Serializer/Deserializer (SerDes) with fully integrated Digital Signal Processing (DSP) integrated into a single low power, small sized mixed-signal Custom SoC solution using specialized packaging technologies.


Read Full Article More on Networking

Industry 4.0 Application?

Here at Socionext we have been focused on Industry 4.0 for many years, working with customers to develop Custom SoCs to cope with its many challenges. Challenges from networking and data handling to machine vision. The latter being one of our core capabilities. A further challenge is the large number of communication standards which have been adopted within the production process as well as ensuring the reliability and functional safety of equipment and personnel.

The ability to handle large amounts of data at the Edge is becoming increasingly important as is the growing demand for networking and computing for vision and image recognition without human intervention.


Read Full Article More on Industrial

ASIC or Custom SoC – What’s the difference?

The benefits of using custom chips at a system level have long been recognized. This approach enables optimization of feature set, performance, power consumption and final chip cost compared to both the use of ‘off-the-shelf’ standard products or FPGAs. It also enables a higher level of integration, with a consequent reduction in both space requirements and overall BOM cost.

The added value and benefits offered by custom chip design must of course be set against the development cost, including the NRE charges required by the custom chip provider for items such as chip implementation, IP access fees and mask charges amongst others.

Traditionally, such custom chips have been described as Application-Specific ICs (or ASICs), so how does this differ from a Custom SoC?

There are two key aspects to consider here. Firstly, the design specification or chip content as well as the interface and design responsibilities between customer and the chip supplier. In a traditional ASIC, the chip design is the responsibility of the customer, based on technology libraries delivered by the chip supplier. The design is delivered to the supplier in the form of a technology specific gate-level description (‘netlist’) or as a higher-level software description (‘RTL’). The chip supplier then handles the conversion of the customer design into a physical chip, including packaging and test of the final product. Each party must take responsibility for its part in the overall design.

ASICs may (and often do) include multiple macro IP blocks supplied by the chip vendor, but do not necessarily include any dedicated CPU functionality. A System-on-Chip solution (by its very definition) is based around a CPU or multiple CPU subsystems and acts as the central processing element in the final system. In addition to the CPU(s), the SoC will also contain any number of other processing units, such as ISP, DSP or GPU as well as other dedicated IP blocks for functions such as high-speed external interfaces.

In order to design an ASIC, customers have to have either a dedicated internal chip design team or at minimum in-house experts to interface to an external design partner. This may be difficult to justify when the number of custom designs required is limited.  By comparison a Custom SoC approach offers additional options, with the chip supplier taking more of the design responsibility. This may range from a ‘Platform-based’ approach (where the supplier offers pre-verified subsystems) to a ‘spec-in‘ design where the supplier takes full responsibility for the complete design process.

The Custom SoC approach therefore offers customers the possibility to access their own custom-designed chip with the minimum of design effort and resource on their side, even if they have no in-house chip design expertise. Selecting the right silicon partner becomes even more critical under these circumstances. With almost 40 years of experience in ASIC & Custom SoC design, and its proven ability to handle the most complex of projects based on leading edge process technologies, Socionext is the ideal partner for your custom silicon needs.

Think ASIC/Custom SoC – Think Socionext!

Custom SoC as an Automotive differentiator

The move towards autonomous vehicles continues to drive huge changes in automotive design. In-vehicle infotainment and advanced driver assistance systems are merging to enhance the driving experience whilst increasing safety. These new systems are extremely complex both in hardware and, increasingly, software terms.

Connectivity and seamless integration of mobile devices as well as simple and convenient operation through touch, voice and gesture control, together with customization options in areas such as lighting, audio and seating configuration are becoming increasingly important.

Use of Artificial Intelligence and biometrics enables these features to be automated and easily transferred between vehicles. The ability to meet the individual needs and expectations of each driver is becoming increasingly important.

The car of the future will integrate a large number of different sensor technologies, including cameras, radar, LiDAR and ultrasound to enable real-time decision making, supporting the driver and enhancing comfort levels.

The processing power required to deal with the massive amounts of data generated will be delivered by complex, high-performance multi-processor System-on-Chip (SoC) solutions. These SoCs will support a range of other functions such as image & video processing as well as accelerators for deep learning.  The volume of data to be handled will require very efficient, high-throughput chip architectures as well as high-performance memory interfaces. A further challenge will be to achieve highest levels of performance and integration whilst minimizing both chip size/cost and power consumption.

Meeting these conflicting challenges open new opportunities for customization, which may be the only option to achieve the required design objectives and enable the car OEMs to differentiate from their competition.  There will be a move to platform-based SoC designs which can be utilized across the entire product range, with model feature-sets and differentiation being largely defined through software, enabling real-time on-line updates to be performed.

Custom SoCs will therefore become increasingly important in future Automotive applications. Socionext, as the world’s second largest fabless custom SoC provider, is able to address the most complex of SoC design challenges, based on leading-edge semiconductor technology. With its long history of serving the Automotive market, Socionext is the ideal partner to support the full range of services expected by Automotive customers, from product specification (including Functional safety requirements), through IP support and chip implementation to complete product lifecycle management.

Think Automotive Custom SoC – Think Socionext!

Developing 5G Networking?

Socionext has a long standing history of state-of-the art Custom SoC for optical transport network applications, providing the world’s first 100G, 200G and 400G chipsets to the market and revolutionizing the telecom space.

These breakthroughs were achieved by Socionext’s unique ultra-high speed and high performance Analog-to-Digital-Converters (ADC), Digital-to Analog-Converters (DAC), Serializer/Deserializer (SerDes) with fully integrated Digital Signal Processing (DSP) integrated into a single low power, small sized mixed-signal Custom SoC solution using specialized packaging technologies.

With the introduction of 5G the wide variety of existing know-how can be utilized for new developments enabling better solutions, overcoming existing boundaries and pushing forward the 5G frontiers for new, broader network eco systems.  

5G’s requirement for high data rates but also low latency with new feature sets mean that transmitting data using discrete devices and modules in conventional, non-Custom SoC solutions will inevitably lead to a dramatic rise in power consumption. However, using Socionext intelligence the integration into a Custom SoC offers major benefits to system solutions since it enables optimized, complex designs with higher performance but lower power consumption and smaller footprints.

With 5G sub 6 GHz RF front ends, wide signal bandwidths (BW), supporting envelope-tracking (ET) will require large bandwidths (100s of MHz). This will be difficult to maintain with standard RFICs. However, an optimized digital front-end (DFE) Custom SoC will revolutionize the future wireless world by using a Direct RF architecture. This architecture will remove excessive amplifiers and filtering blocks and put all functions into a digital integrated fully BW selectable DSP that allows for automatic tracking and reduction of distortions and interferers.

Considering platforms such as modem-to- antenna systems or high-end antenna arrays in 5G allow successive multiple-input/output (MIMO) applications. A Custom SoC can be used to focus signals onto end devices and can then be operated successfully alongside a large number of ADCs and DACs with all control functions. It is possible for customers to select the modulation format, the exact baud rate, overhead channel coding and training sequences. All IPs are designed to intelligently work together to consistently deliver high cellular speeds, superior coverage, and outstanding power efficiency in sleek form factors. This then improves capacity, user data rates, spectrum usage and latency and ensures best possible trade-offs or optimization for different application scenarios.

Depending on the way the Customer SoC is optimized it can support a variety of services and applications. For example, the top priority might be for a particularly wide transmission range, keeping power consumption to a minimum or achieving a high data rate. It is possible that there is a requirement for a combination of all these characteristics. Optimization of all the processes is a job for a Custom SoC which will allow system vendors or operators to achieve solutions that include all the specific features they require and allows them to set themselves apart from the competition.

5G will play a decisive role in the digital transformation not only for mobile broadband access, fronthaul and backhaul, but also for Internet of Things (IoT), Industry, Machine-to-Machine (M2M), applications connecting vehicles, machines, users and things. The new challenges that come with these applications are changing radio access technologies. Custom SoCs will have an important role to play in implementing these new technologies. Socionext's investments in this technology and its many years of expertise mean it is perfectly placed to react to the latest trends.

Think Custom SoC – Think Socionext

Industry 4.0 Application?

Here at Socionext we have been focused on Industry 4.0 for many years, working with customers to develop Custom SoCs to cope with its many challenges. Challenges from networking and data handling to machine vision. The latter being one of our core capabilities.  A further challenge is the large number of communication standards which have been adopted within the production process as well as ensuring the reliability and functional safety of equipment and personnel.

The ability to handle large amounts of data at the Edge is becoming increasingly important as is the growing demand for networking and computing for vision and image recognition without human intervention.

Socionext has developed a number of solutions which simplify the development of Industry 4.0 equipment. Our Custom SoC capabilities are playing a key role in the provision of optimized solutions bringing many advantages in areas such as IP protection, functional safety, lifecycle management, industrial networking and security. Industry 4.0 requires cost-effective, powerful SoC solutions which offer virtually the same performance level as CPUs and GPUs but with significantly lower power consumption.

We have established many partnerships within the Industry 4.0 environment and have helped solution providers to design systems specially tailored to meet specific requirements. Through us customers can access a wide range of IP in the fields of ARM®-based and other processor cores, special I/O and high-speed interfaces, functional, interface and analogue IP.

Utilising our custom design services we enable companies to have their own dedicated and unique SoCs that have our full support over the entire product lifetime. With over 40 years’ experience, we are a dependable partner to satisfy all custom SoC requirements in Industry 4.0 applications including Drives, Programmable Logic Controller, Sensors and Metering. Our expertise shows.

Think Custom SoC – Think Socionext

Complex Applications need Custom SoCs

You have a problem. You cannot achieve the performance you need with your design; the power is too high as are the costs. There are no off-the-shelf components that offer you a solution and you have no in-house design capabilities for an ASIC approach.

Think Custom SoC - Think Socionext, the specialist in Custom SoC solutions.

Based on your target specification, our chip design experts will work with you to define the optimum SoC solution for your application. We focus on applications that need advanced process technologies with challenging complexity and demanding performance requirements. Our Custom SoC capabilities enable design optimization with the additional benefits of IP protection, product differentiation and security.

Through us customers can access a wide range of IP in the fields of ARM®-based processor cores, special I/O and high-speed interfaces, and functional, interface and analogue IP. Our own in-house standard SoCs also offer a source of differentiating IP for customized applications. This is complemented by our leading-edge chip design and implementation expertise, especially in areas such as custom analog and complex multicore processor subsystems.

As one of the world’s leading suppliers of Custom SoC solutions and as a fabless company we are able to select the optimum silicon process technology for your needs.

With our many years of expertise in developing innovative products and solutions you know you can count on us.

Think Custom SoC – Think Socionext