SMSC Introduces Industry's First 7-Port USB 3.0 Hybrid Hub Controller Family

27th September 2011
ES Admin
SMSC announced the USB553x, a family of USB 3.0 hub controllers consisting of 7-port and a 4-port offerings. These new SuperSpeed USB hubs deliver the industry's smallest footprint, hybrid speed configuration with an optimized BOM cost for designers of the emerging USB 3.0 ecosystem. The devices also feature programmable flexibility for configuration of performance enhancing features, and the ability to support 2-layer PCB designs. The USB553X family is an excellent solution for USB port expansion in docking stations, port replicators, all-in-one monitors, as well as peripheral hubs for use with ultra-mobile PCs, tablets and notebooks that are outfitted with SuperSpeed USB host connectivity.
SMSC has been a leading provider of USB 2.0 solutions over the past decade, having shipped over 200 million USB enabled devices. Our low power, small footprint design expertise has made SMSC a valued partner to many of the industry's top designers of USB-enabled computing, consumer and automotive platforms and makes us a natural design partner for SuperSpeed USB.

USB 3.0 provides up to a 10x performance increase over USB 2.0 and will usher in a new wave of applications for consumers requiring high speed downloads, said Charles Forni, VP and General Manager of SMSC's Connected Devices product line. USB 3.0 fulfills a need for a multi-purpose, high performance connection that can transfer vast amount of consumer generated data from one place to another.

In addition to moving data faster than ever, SuperSpeed USB, operating at up to 5 Gbps, has the potential to change future mobile computing designs in profound ways. As mobile PCs become ever thinner and lighter, industrial designs that favor ultra mobility may shift I/O connectors to a companion docking station that specializes in expanding connectivity options.

USB is a well designed interface for bridging virtually any I/O port found in a PC today. With the added bandwidth inherent in the SuperSpeed version, USB 3.0 is capable of aggregating audio, video, storage and human interface data over a single USB connection on a PC, said Mark Fu, Senior Director of Marketing at SMSC. Our 7-port hub, the USB5537, is well suited for a USB docking station requiring all of these capabilities.

5Gbs Peripheral Connectivity for A New Class of Mobile Computing Devices

Opting for ultra mobility, more and more notebook PCs offer fewer built-in I/O ports in order to achieve a desirable portable form factor. Typical netbook PCs feature two or less USB ports, no PC card slot, and in some instances, no Ethernet port (RJ45). The emerging tablets streamline industrial designs even further. These compact designs limit display size, and exile storage options and traditional input/output ports to peripheral accessories, such as docking stations. While these design changes promote portability, consumers continue to expect a full PC experience out of the smaller, less capable box when they transition from on-the-go to a more stationary environment like a home or office. To get equivalent desktop PC connectivity out of an ultra mobile PC, a typical user would need multiple USB ports for a full-size keyboard, a mouse, a multi-function printer, and an external HDD for increased storage or a DVD-ROM drive for loading software. Power users may need a few more free ports to synchronize portable media players, charge their mobile phones, hook up surround sound speakers, or even drive an external LCD monitor for expanded display area. SMSC's USB553x product family is a compelling new solution for a myriad of USB port replicators and docking stations that provide add-on USB connectivity to this new class of mobile PCs.

New Connectivity Options at SuperSpeed for Docking

When used in a standalone USB hub box, the USB5537 provides four USB 3.0 ports and three USB 2.0 ports from one USB connection to a USB host system. The USB5537 is extremely versatile when used in a USB docking station where its seven USB ports are utilized as internal and external attach points. A USB hub is typically located in the center of a USB docking station to act as a central port of connectivity. SMSC's USB5537 is designed specifically with this function in mind. Armed with unique features such as PortMap, PortSwap, VariSense, PHYBoost, and USB Battery Charging 1.2, the USB5537 handles embedded USB connections with ease and provides designers the flexibility to meet the industry's stringent USB certification requirements that often create configuration challenges to even experienced system designers.

USB 3.0 Hub Family with Market Proven Interoperability Via Legacy USB Installed Base

Both the USB5537 and USB5534 retain SMSC's MultiTRAK(TM) technology for High Speed USB traffic, which provides a dedicated pipeline, or a Transaction Translator (TT), for every downstream Full-Speed device. Despite the anticipated rapid transition of the USB ecosystem from Hi-Speed (480 Mbps) to SuperSpeed, a vast majority of the nearly 10-billion-unit* USB installed base and currently shipping products are still Full-Speed and Hi-Speed.

Bridging the performance and interoperability gap with legacy USB 1.1 and USB 2.0 products is a critical customer requirement when selecting a USB 3.0 hub solution, said Mark Fu. The USB553x family has inherited the market proven maturity from five generations of High-Speed USB Hub products that have won the trust of leading OEMs and ODMs worldwide. Our USB 2.0 experience and knowledge of interoperability pitfalls makes SMSC a natural partner for designing USB 3.0 hub solutions. In addition to meeting commercial design requirements, the USB553x family is also available in an industrial temperature grade that meets -40 degree C to 85 degree C operating conditions.

Pricing & Availability

Samples of USB5537 and USB5534 are available today and range in price from $3.30 (commercial grade) to $4.45 (industrial grade) per unit. Pricing is based on 1K quantities.

* Source:USB-IF, USB 3.0 Developers Conference, 3/2011

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