Real-Time Analysis of Priority-Preemptive NoCs with Arbitrary Buffer Sizes and Router Delays

Borislav Nikolic, Sebastian Tobuschat, Leandro Soares Indrusiak, Rolf Ernst, Alan Burns

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Nowadays available multiprocessor platforms predominantly use a network-on-chip (NoC) architecture as an interconnect medium, due to its good scalability and performance. During the last decade, NoCs received a significant amount of attention from the real-time community. One promising category of approaches suggests to employ already existing hardware features called virtual channels, and dedicate them, exclusively, to individual communication traffic flows. In this way, NoCs become more amenable to the real-time analysis, which is an essential requirement for providing both safe and tight worst-case analysis methods, and consequently deriving real-time guarantees. In this manuscript, we present the approach which falls in the aforementioned category. Specifically, we propose a novel method for the worst-case analysis of the NoC traffic, assuming the existence of per-flow dedicated virtual channels. Compared to the state-of-the-art techniques, our approach yields substantially tighter upper-bounds on the worst-case traversal times (WCTTs) of communication traffic flows. By employing the proposed method, resource over-provisioning can be mitigated to a large extent, and significant design-cost reductions can be achieved. Moreover, we implemented a cycle-accurate simulator of the assumed NoC architecture, and used it to assess the tightness of derived WCTT bounds. Finally, we reached an interesting conclusion that bigger virtual channel buffers do not necessarily lead to better results, and in many cases can be counter-productive, which is a very important finding for system designers.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)63-105
Number of pages43
JournalReal-Time Systems
Issue number1
Early online date21 Jun 2018
Publication statusPublished - 15 Jan 2019

Bibliographical note

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018. This is an author-produced version of the published paper. Uploaded in accordance with the publisher’s self-archiving policy. Further copying may not be permitted; contact the publisher for details


  • Embedded systems
  • Network-on-chip
  • Priority-preemptive arbitration
  • Real-time systems
  • Virtual channels
  • Wormhole switching

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