India has been producing chips for four decades, beginning with the Semiconductor Complex Limited (SCL) fab in the early 1980s. In contrast to the industry’s worldwide quick growth, this wasn’t much of a success. The Indian government is working harder than ever to revive chip production in India for both home and international markets.
Given this government push, Indian businesses and investors are optimistic and committed to investing in this industry. However, some business experts emphasized that financial investments in semiconductor fab production must come after a market analysis with a possible clientele.
Sankar Reddy, the founder and CEO of Terminus Circuits, recently told DIGITIMES Asia that the key to the success of investing in this volume-driven manufacturing sector is to take actions like evaluating the future client base and possible need for wafers. It is crucial to have a well-planned roadmap that compares the investment to breakeven, the inflection point, and operational factors like dependable power and clean water for unit maintenance.
According to Reddy, “Semiconductor fab is driven by technology that becomes outdated quickly, and putting up a new fabrication facility with the aim of catching up will offer minimal rewards.” The best moment to invest would be when there are many fabless companies that may be closer to hitting the breakeven point of a fabrication plant rather than attempting to open a fab when our outsourced contract manufacturing is not significant but bare minimal.
Due to their participation in the Core Initiation Group of the India Electronics and Semiconductor Association (IESA), which paved the way for the Semiconductor Fabless Accelerator Lab (SFAL), startups like Terminus Circuits have significantly contributed to the development of an ecosystem for fabless chip companies.
In order to establish and sustain a semiconductor fab, Reddy continued, “soon we need to greatly support and accelerate the rise in the number of fabless design companies.”
PRODUCT DEVELOPMENT FOR HIGH-SPEED SERIAL LINKS Terminus Circuits creates and develops its products in accordance with protocol specifications and the PPA (performance, power, area). In systems for data centers, artificial intelligence, consumer electronics, automotive IIoT, SSD storage, Network on Chip (NoC), 5G use cases, die2die (D2D) communications, etc., the company’s main products of IPs PCIe, USB, MIPI, and ethernet serve as essential building blocks.
As you can see, all of these applications have a similar requirement for increasing bandwidth, which has fueled both development and the demand for more throughput per lane for interface protocols like PCIe, Ethernet, and SerDes, according to Reddy. “High-Speed Serial Links (HSSL) provide the solution to address the associated issues and reduce the packaging complexities of these advanced chips,” according to the study. “With the increase in chip complexity, increase in computing power, increase in need for higher data transfer, and increase in need for lower latencies.
Taking Part in a Niche Market The specialized market that Terminus Circuits serves has been beneficial. Only a small number of businesses globally are able to meet the demanding specifications for these extremely difficult transistor-level circuit designs.
Terminus Circuits, with its silicon-proven intellectual property (IP) products, helps clients minimize their integration risk and offers IP customisation to fulfill customers’ individual needs for their USP/value addition in terms of power, size, performance, etc., according to Reddy. The USP of businesses in sectors like FinTech for their end application as part of their IT infrastructure, enabling their systems with high-frequency trading P2P, lending, crypto apps, etc., is going to be Terminus Circuits standard-based 10G ethernet, for example, which is specially made to meet the lowest latency compared to other providers.
Partnership with active MAC vendors Except for a small portion known as the Physical Coding Sub-layer, Terminus Circuits’ design for Physical Media Access (PMA) is entirely analog (PCS). A Media Access Controller (MAC) is required to create an interface standard sub-system that complies with the protocol. The business collaborates on this with MAC vendors.
“The relationship with the MAC suppliers is complimentary, offers the end user a comprehensive one-stop solution, lowers their risk of IP integration-related problems, and speeds up time to market,” Reddy added. “Terminus Circuits is aspiring to work with global partners to develop a homegrown SSD storage device employing our current silicon-proven IPs as part of the anticipated futuristic PCIe Gen5 based SSD storage device,” the company said.
PLAN FOR THE FUTURE AND TARGET CUSTOMERS Customers of Terminus Circuits are involved in developing systems that must manage greater data in computer farms, across data centers, and in centrally placed or distributed data storage systems with end applications in HPC, AI, ML, storage, and 5G/6G use cases.
“Terminus Circuits not only offers the end client the necessary tailored solutions, but also journeys alongside them for their success at the time of their SOC development and post-silicon characterization that may help them in quicker time to market,” Reddy continued.
The business has solid plans for the future that will improve customer service. One of them is to have readily available solutions across foundries and technological nodes, improving our client base and expanding our readiness for greater market penetration. By offering customers pre-made IPs, Terminus Circuits also hopes to expand its clientele and eventually go into the ASIC/sub-system development business.