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Communication modeling is a critical issue in specifying SoCs. It is needed for accurately predicting the timing behavior of the system. Fast simulation capabilities are a key in this environment, for coping with the complex design choices during the specification process. Recently, Transaction Level Models (TLM) have been proposed to speedup communication simulation at the cost of accuracy.

This paper reports on a case study, where an automotive communications protocol, the Controller Area Network (CAN), has been captured at different levels of abstraction, where specific features of the protocol, such as bit stuffing, are reflected in the model, or abstracted away. The resulting models have been measured in an experimental setup in terms of performance and accuracy. The paper will analyze the results and evaluate the benefits and drawbacks of these TLM and pin-accurate models. In conclusion it will be shown for which applications the models are suitable, with respect to their speed/accuracy trade off.