FPGA Bitstream

An FPGA bitstream is a file that contains the programming information for an FPGA. A Xilinx FPGA device must be programmed using a specific bitstream in order for it to behave as an embedded hardware platform. This bitstream is typically provided by the hardware designer who creates the embedded platform.

Programming an FPGA is the process of loading a bitstream into the FPGA. During the development phase, the FPGA device is programmed using utilities such as Vivado® or using menu options in SDK. These tools transfer the bitstream to the FPGA on board. In production hardware, the bitstream is usually placed in non-volatile memory, and the hardware is configured to program the FPGA when powered on.