USB 3.0 controller provides seamless GigE connectivity

21st August 2015
Posted By : Siobhan O'Gorman
USB 3.0 controller provides seamless GigE connectivity

A high-throughput, low-power USB controller that converts GigE data to USB 3.0 data has been introduced by Cypress Semiconductor. The EZ-USB GX3 targets slimmer laptop designs that include an ultra-thin USB Type-C port and no bulky Ethernet port. The device provides comprehensive driver support for all major operating systems, including Windows, Mac OS, Linux, Android and Chrome, enabling seamless plug-and-play operation via a USB 3.0 port on any system, including laptops, tablets, docking stations, IP STBs and smart TVs.

Conventional USB 3.0 to GigE bridge solutions present designers with limited throughput performance and power management challenges. For throughput, converting GigE data packets to USB 3.0 data packets reduces the throughput of conventional USB 3.0 to GigE bridge controllers to around 700-800Mb/s. The EZ-USB GX3 uses a proprietary data transfer mechanism that sends multiple GigE data packets in bursts over USB to provide 910Mb/s throughput, which is comparable to the 950Mb/s throughput of native GigE solutions. For power, it is difficult for a conventional USB 3.0 to GigE solution to support low-power modes of both the USB 3.0 and GigE standards, but controller offers a power-efficient solution for both with multiple power-saving modes.

The EZ-USB GX3 controller includes on-chip Gigabit Ethernet MAC and PHY support 802.3az Energy Efficient Ethernet and other advanced power management features, including wake-on-LAN, dynamic power saving modes during idle or light traffic, and an AutoDetach feature that ‘soft-disconnects’ the controller from the USB host whenever Ethernet cable is unplugged. The USB PHY and controller are fully compliant with the USB Link Power Manangement policy, supporting U0, U1, U2 and U3 low-power states. Furthermore, GX3 includes an IPv4/IPv6 packet Checksum Offload Engine to reduce CPU loading, providing IPv4 IP/TCP/UDP/ICMP/IGMP and IPv6 TCP/UDP/ICMPv6 checksum and generation.

The USB Type-C standard is gaining rapid support with top-tier PC makers by enabling slim industrial designs, easy-to-use connectors and cables, the ability to transmit multiple protocols, and 100W power delivery, a significant improvement over the previous 7.5W standard. The USB Type-C standard’s 2.4mm-high connector plug is significantly smaller than current 4.5mm USB Type-A standard connectors. It also allows for transport of USB signals and DisplayPort signals on the same connector.

“The Apple MacBook eliminated the Ethernet port years ago, and Ultrabooks and Chromebooks have followed suit, but consumers still want GigE connectivity to stream HD content and for other applications requiring high-bandwidth,” said Mark Fu, Senior Marketing Director of the USB 3.0 product line, Cypress. “Our EZ-USB GX3 solution seamlessly brings high-throughput GigE connectivity to any USB 3.0 system, whether via a standard USB Type-A port or the new USB Type-C port. GX3 further strengthens our SuperSpeed USB portfolio, and in conjunction with our programmable EZ-PD USB Type-C power delivery solutions and our EZ-USB HX3 USB 3.0 hub, Cypress can now enable a true one-cable docking solution for laptops, tablets and other portable devices.”


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