As digital design has proliferated the electronics world, making designs faster, easier to test, and more robust, the analog portion of embedded designs is becoming a bottleneck. To meet requirements and timetables in the analog portion, engineers generally have three weapons at their disposal: utilize peripheral analog IC, build the functionality internally (make), or purchase the IP block from an external vendor (buy). Each option has its own merits and drawbacks, but none can launch a competitive advantage better or cause more frustrating confusion than analog IP.
Traditionally, these options only apply to ASIC builds, as FPGAs are not compatible with analog IP. However, this is changing quickly. Some IP companies now provide all Register Transfer Language (RTL)-based Analog-to-Digital Converter (ADC), Digital-to-Analog Converter (DAC), DC-DC converter controller, and clocking functions with robust performance.
To meet design objectives, engineers must understand the IP vendor’s strategy and incentives and match their offerings to what is required.