Understanding the Impact of Single Event Effects in Networking Applications

Reliability of communication is essential in networking applications. The goal of five nines (99.999%) in network availability translates to less than six minutes in downtime in a year for the entire network. Among the many impacts on system reliability are the effects of ionizing radiation on electronic circuits. This radiation can cause memory elements in electronic circuits to change state. When this happens in the configuration memory of SRAM-based FPGAs, it can cause a change in the functionality of the circuit, greatly impacting system reliability. Designers of networking applications must understand the effect of this radiation and how to reduce the risk to the network.

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