Eric started working on USB in 1995, starting with the world’s first BIOS that supported USB Keyboards and Mice while at Award Software. After a departure into embedded systems software for real-time operating systems, he returned to USB IP cores and software at inSilicon, one of the leading suppliers of USB IP. In 2002, inSilicon was acquired by Synopsys and he’s been here since. He also served as Chairman of the USB On-The-Go Working Group for the USB Implementers Forum from 2004-2006.
Eric received an M.B.A. from Santa Clara University and an M.S. in Engineering from University of California Irvine, and a B.S. in Engineering from the University of Minnesota. and is a licensed Professional Engineer in Civil Engineering in the State of California
Michael (Mick) Posner joined Synopsys in 1994 and is currently Director of Product Marketing for Synopsys' DesignWare USB Solutions. Previously, he was the Director of Product Marketing for Physical (FPGA-based) Prototyping and has held various product marketing, technical marketing manager and application consultant positions at Synopsys. He holds a Bachelor Degree in Electronic and Computer Engineering from the University of Brighton, England.
For over a decade, the Intel Developer Forum (IDF) has been Intel’s premier conference, helping to shape the direction of tomorrow’s technology. IDF brings together people from every part of the technology world to experience visionary keynotes, technology and industry insights, and technical sessions (including lectures, interactive panels, hands-on labs and Q&As). In addition, the Technology Showcase hosts exhibits and demonstrations from Intel and leading technology companies.
Visit the SuperSpeed USB and General Communities to see Synopsys’ latest developments in DesignWare® IP for USB Type-C™, USB 3.1 and PCI Express® 4.0.
Where: Moscone Center West, 800 Howard Street, San Francisco, CA 94103
Technology Showcase Hours
Tuesday, August 16: 11:00 am – 7:00 pm
Wednesday, August 17: 11:00 am – 1:00 pm and 4:00 pm – 7:00 pm
Thursday, August 18: 11:00 am – 2:00 pm
Synopsys Highlights at IDF16
SuperSpeed USB Community – Booth 148
DesignWare USB Type-C and SuperSpeed USB 10 Gbps IP
Synopsys will demonstrate its DesignWare USB 3.1 Type-C solution, including PHY with Host and Device controllers, running at 10 Gbps USB 3.1 speeds. The demonstrations will run on the DesignWare USB 3.1 Host IP Prototyping Kit and USB 3.1 Device IP Prototyping Kit, which enable designers to accelerate IP prototyping and integration.
DesignWare USB 3.1 IP Interoperability
Synopsys will demonstrate its USB 3.1 Device Controller inter-operating with an off-the-shelf USB 3.1 Host PC running at specification speeds.
General Community – Booth 230
DesignWare PCI Express 4.0 Interoperability
This demo showcases interoperability between Synopsys’ DesignWare IP for PCI Express 4.0 solution and Teledyne LeCroy Summit Z416 Protocol Analyzer/Exerciser. The complete DesignWare IP solution is silicon-proven and meets the latest PCI Express 4.0 specification requirements.
If you want to get a feeling for what can be seen at IDF, watch a couple of videos from previous years posted below
I’m going to try and get Eric to wear a suit and tie this year so he looks fabulous in the videos….. :)
Synopsys’ superbly professional and persnickety PHY engineers built this new PHY leveraging 4 previous generations of PHYs to create the smallest USB 2.0 PHY to date. Specifically targeting the 40nm ultra low power process targeted by IoT designs, our customers already tell us this area is amazing.
We further optimized our USB 2.0 Device controller for size and ease-of-use. Fewer gates saves silicon area and cost. Ease-of-use means faster time to results.
A USB PMM might say, I might say, “This is a great PHY, a really, really great PHY. We’ve built lots of PHYs, and I mean lots of PHYs. And let me tell you, we know something about PHYs. We know how to build PHYs. You are going to super happy with this PHY. With this PHY we are going to make IoT Edge Applications great again”
In architecting the PHY for this 40nm ultra low power process, our team further lowered power consumption and usage. I could explain how, but 1) then our competitors would too and 2) I wouldn’t do a good job.
Simply, by taking our learnings from building our 4th generation PHY, we further refined that to create a PHY with up to 30-50% lower power than previous PHYs.
It is NOT just because of lower core voltages in the low power process. (That is, just because the core voltage of this 40nm process is lower, that isn’t enough to rely on for lower overall power consumption).
Taking the core voltages of 1.1 or 0.9 V and then using that to create 3.3V and being able to handle 5.0 V requires expert levels of expertise.
So we can keep alive the USB connection, waiting to detect an incoming USB signal/VBus, wake up and function. All this at close to zero Watts.
Save weeks/months of effort with simplified IP
Because of our rigorous efforts to build great IP, we put a lot of thought into how our users, actually use the IP.
By eliminating options in the USB 2.0 Device, we save our customers time. Fewer options to review, understand, and decide on. We save the customers effort so they can move on to the next thing.
Most importantly, buying the IP from one supplier, makes the integration quicker. We connect up and test the IP ourselves. We simulate a lot. We test. We learn. We rolled that into customer savings in time and effort in simplifying our core and how we connect our PHY and core together.
In addition, with our IP Subsystems, we will integrate the USB 2.0 PHY and Core together and provide that as an integrated subsystem. This saves additional weeks of engineering time and effort
As always we have our IP Prototyping Kits based on HAPS. This lets you prototype with our USB core, with an option to prototype with our ARC microcontroller for your IoT edge application.
We have ARC Sensor Subsystems for adding to your SoC, further speeding your SoC assembly and time to market.
And we have our VDKs for development of complex systems with USB and your system for driver development and architecture exploration.
Smaller Area, Lower Power, Saved Effort, these are the reasons to get USB 2.0 Type-C IP for IoT from Synopsys
I bit more of supporting material. If you’ve read this far, I give you 1000 points.
Why Edge? Why USB 2.0? Why Type-C?
IoT Edge applications are the systems gathering data, or controlling the environment. Data gatherers could be wind speed, traffic cameras, soil moisture levels, humidity, motion sensing, heat sensing…
Edge devices need to be cheap, small, and produced in mass quantities.
(Note: IoT Cloud/Servers all will have USB 3.1. they just will. trust me)
For IoT edge designs, USB 2.0 is fast enough for debug and firmware updates.
Most edge applications will communicate wirelessly for easier deployment, in more locations. For IoT,, USB will primarily be used for system bring up, debug, and firmware updates. It’s the most flexible, most easy way to program or fix an IoT device. When setting up, or debugging, simply plug a USB cable into the Edge device, and debug with your PC The wire is still required because the wireless may not be working (or may not be present).
Type-C is superior to previous USB connectors simply because it is more durable.
The micro B connectors have an orientation that inherently causes them to last not as long. Since the user has to push the connector in, in the exact right way, it means more force is exerted on the connector if the alignmentupside-down.
With Type-C there is no-upside down, so there is less stress overall (you still need to align the connector). This alone makes it more durable.
The smaller form factor of the Type-C connector makes it friendlier to IoT edge devices which are inherently small.
Type-C and USB 2.0 fit perfectly into the IoT Edge product space for debugging and flexibility. It’s more than good enough. It’s the best fit for this market and these products
A physicist and an engineer were working on a top secret time travel project. Suddenly, there was a flash of light and there before them appeared a very beautiful female life form.
She said to the men, “I have been without companionship for many years, if you can reach me, you can do with me as you wish. However, because of the time field, every time you move towards me you will go only half that distance.”
The engineer then looked at the physicist and noticed he was very sad. “What’s the matter with you? This is the opportunity of a lifetime.”
The physicist replied, “Don’t you see, if I go only half the distance each time, I will never actually get there. It’s a hopeless situation.”
The physicist then asked the engineer, “Why are you smiling?”
The engineer grinned and said, “That’s true, but I’ll be close enough to get the job done.”
Software developers constantly face the challenge of integrating more features into their designs, with fewer resources and shorter schedule for fast time-to-market products requiring USB interfaces. Developers programming in Linux have an additional challenge in that the Linux kernel mainline is officially released as a new version approximately every 2 to 3 months. Keeping up with the version changes and using them for a non-mainline kernel can waste weeks or months of development.
On the other hand, using USB driver code that resides in the upstream kernel does not have this issue, as kernel and Linux developers tend to simply grep the source, modify and use any driver that is impacted by a proposed application program interface (API) change. Using USB drivers from the upstream Linux kernel greatly simplifies the design process, freeing software developers to spend time on developing proprietary, differentiating code and applications for the product.
Off Topic ………. Have you noticed all those math quiz questions going around the internet? For example, what is the answer to 2×2+2/2=? (Typo’ed before, corrected in update)
Well in this case the answer is 5……………. Why not 3 or 4 you ask? Well it’s simple, there are rules applied to math like this to ensure the answer is always calculated in a uniform way. Just remember BODMAS!
B Brackets first
O Orders (i.e. Powers and Square Roots, etc.)
DM Division and Multiplication (left-to-right)
AS Addition and Subtraction (left-to-right)
So for our little equation there are no brackets, no orders so onto division and multiplication which are equal priority so handle from left to right (2×2=4 & 2/2=1) then onto the addition (4+1=5)
As we head toward America’s Independence Day (the original Brexit or Amerexit), I reflected how USB allows me to lighten my briefcase on business trips.
When I travel to Taiwan, China, or Japan, it’s common now to find USB ports in hotel rooms and airports. If I didn’t need a laptop, I don’t need to carry a power brick.
If I could use only my tablet and phone then I might only need to bring two USB cables. I could even leave behind the wall chargers for my phones (which are small anyways). I could just borrow the sales person’s wall charger when I’m in meetings or at the office abroad.
On the airplane, as long as it’s a Boeing Dreamliner, it has a USB port in every seat.
So if I forget my adapters, there’s a good chance I can get by with USB only.
Type-C and Power Delivery, USB usefulness extends to charging laptops or devices needing more than 15W. Just as the MacBooks and Chrome Pixelbooks only use Type C today, we can expect more PCs like this, lightening our briefcases on long trips. Also, letting us use the same chargers for phones and laptops.
Basically, anything other than a hair dryer can run off of USB.
Also when hiking or backpacking, you can charge you devices with a solar USB charger.
Or charge while cooking your food over a campfire with a USB charger that runs on campfire heat. Check out this Biolite Stove.
Again, greater independence with USB in the wilderness and abroad.
A wife asks her husband, a software engineer…
“Could you please go shopping for me and buy one carton of milk, and if they have eggs, get 6!” A short time later the husband comes back with 6 cartons of milk. The wife asks him, “Why the hell did you buy 6 cartons of milk?” He replied, “They had eggs
“If it isn’t broken, it doesn’t have enough features.”
I’ve been thinking about this Engineering joke all week. I love it because it balances what Marketing loves (features) vs. what engineering delivers (quality implementation).
A great example of this is the IoT market. At this point in the adoption cycle, we are still in the earliest market. For consumers, a lot of education is required. Do they need it? Where to buy it? IoT for the Home is still in its infancy. Unless you’re an uber geek or at least a beginning geek, it’s going to take some time set up your IoT home of the future. Or you are going to pay someone $10,000 so you can turn you lights off from your mobile phone.
I am aware for smart buildings the market ahead of the home automation market. The incentives for energy, cost, and security will continue to drive building automation. The staff that install and maintain those systems routinely receive training. At the same time, the custodian and staff have to enable or disable features as needed.
So the balance to be struck with IoT products, the products that support the IoT market for smart homes and smart buildings requires simplicity for the user, and flexibility to realize the goals. Certainly for the end-user, the home-owner or facilities manager, much of this is in the software.
What do you include in your IoT chip which everyone needs?
What are the essential features that you can produce in high volume?
What flexibility do you need to make it marketable for system makers?
For the hardware platform, it’s required, absolutely required to have the flexibility to accommodate different standards. This is because volumes are so low.
- Interface to the environment (like a light bulb)
These will vary based on the design of the product. For example, if some IoT devices will have no controls since all the control will be via your smartphone or tablet or a central control center.
When designing a platform for IoT, the platform must be flexible enough to accommodate changes to meet the different requirements. The hardware specifically must be able to connect to different Connectivity, Sensor, Control, and Power components.
USB and PCIe should be in every IoT design
I like USB (for obvious reasons.)
I like PCIe for even more flexibility
Ideally, an IoT product has both. The cost is relatively low, and it gives greater flexibility in adding the modules you need with off-the-shelf products. So if it’s 5 cents less for the USB version of the WiFi chip, you buy that for this version of the system/end-products.
Connectivity and Controls – USB is attractive because for Connectivity and Controls. It’s easy to prototype an application by buying off the shelf chips, plugging them in via USB and and in a few hours be running WiFi data, connected to a USB camera, on an IoT platform. The host drivers available in Linux (as long as your IoT device runs Linux). They are available in other open source also. If the device is built to be Gadget API compatible, that makes it more likely you can develop a host driver quickly. The Gadget API is a standardized way for drivers to work in Linux. Read more about the Gadget API here.
Sensor – Connect a sensor using USB 1.1 and you can be sending your sensor data through also. (I honestly don’t know if sensors have USB connectors. For the data rates of most sensors, it seems like USB 1.1 would be sufficient)
Power – You can even use USB to power the device or connect a USB battery as you prototype, or charge an onboard battery with USB if you want.
So fast prototyping and bring up with USB
Standard, off the shelf peripherals
Faster driver development with open source
Faster driver development with Gadget API
Customize the features you need, and only the features you need.
Does this reduce IoT devices to a microcontroller, software, PCIe and USB interfaces?Yes, yes it does.
Just choose the number of USB ports you need, and you are done.
There are better minds than mine working on this, I’m sure secret ingredients that make an IoT chip better. If I knew what those were, I’d be there, doing that.
“ Two city slickers go hunting for the first time, get lucky and are dragging the deer back to car. A veteran hunter corrects them, “You’re dragging it by the front legs. That’s wrong. You should drag it by the hind legs.” The city guys thank him and switch it round. After a few minutes, one says,” We are doing this all wrong.” “Whatya mean?” says the other. “We’re getting further away from the car.” ”
Send this URL onto your friend, or people you’d like to be your friend. and tell them to Subscribe to this Blog, one option to subscribe is as follows:
That’s a Pun (which unfortunately has to be explained)
When you design a USB peripheral, like a USB mouse, it will can have as few as 2 endpoints
The mouse needs a control endpoint, for configuration. That’s Endpoint 0 (zero).
It will have 1 Interrupt endpoint.
This takes in mouse clicks, right click, left click, center click, and scrolling mouse wheel.
An interrupt endpoint must get through to the PC immediately for immediate responsiveness.
This is different from an isochronous transfer, like a video or audio transfer. If a packet or a bit of data is lost, it’s more important the video proceed (along with audio) so the viewer can continue to enjoy the video.
The starting point is Certification.
Mr. Posner wrote a great blog on how USB Certification is essential.
It surprises me because some get certification, some do not. It also surprises me because some people, really feel this is the endpoint. There’s nothing else. There is more before, and much more after. USB Certification is critical. It’s only the first part. There’s 90% of the work left to do after certification is complete to make the product reliable.
For Synopsys getting USB certification, is a critical milestone. But it’s one of many. After we’ve built the IP, we certify it, and we keep testing. We never stop.
Control – for configuration – Used in every design
Interrupt – Must be serviced immediately, like mouse clicks or keyboard signals or touch screen signals
Isochronous – For video/audio transfers. If your drop a few bits, it’s okay, because you need to keep the video and audio going. No retrys of the data because your movie or music continues on
Bulk – For data transfers that need 100% accuracy. This is like printing to a printer. That print job has to have all the bits in it, or the print out won’t look right. If a bit is lost, and can’t be recovered through error correction, the system retrys.
For fun here’s a video we did with ASMedia a year ago with our USB 3.1 Device controller. We actually had it certified earlier this year as the first certified USB in the world (universe)
The Video Electronics Standards Association (VESA®) is officially launching its early certification test program for products incorporating the new USB Type-C connector and the DisplayPort Alternate Mode (“Alt Mode”) standard.
The Synopsys DesignWare IP supports both the latest USB 3.1 Gen 2 specification, Type-C and the DisplayPort alt mode. What is interesting to know is that there is not unified USB and DisplayPort testing. Both USB-IF and VESA think that while you can do either over the new Type-C connector that the certification process for each will remain separate. This is the right choice in my opinion as Type-C usage is very flexible and not all products that use Type-C will have both USB and DisplayPort integrated. Having the USB and DisplayPort certifications separate is better for the product developers as if their product does not include one or the other then testing is simplified. If their product contains both then not problem either, both certifications can be gained.
If you haven’t already, please read last week’s blog, https://blogs.synopsys.com/tousbornottousb/2016/06/03/stormtrooper-boots-and-usb-ip-reliability/ personally I loved it. Great analogy to why you should never skimp on IP and should always seek out the highest quality, reliable and robust IP. The funny thing is just this week at DAC a customer was complaining about the cost of USB IP but in the same sentence noted that due to a 3rd party USB 2.0 IP (NOT Synopsys’) that they suffered 50% yield. Even worse, the USB was only for debug, manufacture firmware load and test, it was not even a user accessible port. Of course if your debug port is dead you are up that creek without a paddle. This was a high volume device, 50% yield was killing this customers profit costing the company millions of dollars. When you compare what is at risk from lower quality IP it’s easy to justify paying a premium for the highest quality, reliability and robustness from a trusted supplier like Synopsys.
Finally a fun picture from a dinner while I was at DAC. Can you name the individuals in the picture? And more importantly, who ruined the photo with the bunny ears?
Don’t forget to subscribe using the links to the left and receive this blog as soon as we post
For the 3 of you who haven’t seen the movie: at one point, Han Solo says, “Stormtrooper boots” saying he knew all along Finn was actually a Stormtrooper
(To be clear this will be about the Star Wars Stormtroopers, not Nazi’s like the ones in the news these days)
This got me thinking.
Are those boots comfortable?
Who designed those boots?
Who in the empire ordered those boots?
If the boots aren’t comfortable, do Stormtroopers complain about them?
Does the quartermaster complain to the supplier?
Where is the boot designer?
Do they only care about how the boots look during Imperial Fashion Week?
If a large percentage of Stormtroopers are getting blisters on their feet, how does this show up on the Starkiller Base weekly report:
“Captain Phasma Weekly Report
Location: Starkiller Base
Date: A long time ago
Stormtrooper performance decline of 2% due to boot issues. – Of 200 million storm troopers stationed on planet 2%, or 4 million troopers report injuries. This has resulted in over 8 million visits to the infirmary, 15 million hours of lost work time.
Due to accelerated schedule for primary weapon construction, unable to complete construction of the secondary, backup thermal safety system for safely storing the entire energy output of a sun”
Eric’s commentary: I mean, what’s the probability of rebels attacking our massive planet killing weapon a 3rd time, when the last time was 30 years ago?
So Phasma’s report gets sent up the chain to General Hux, who now has to decide if he’s going to report this to Kylo Ren (aka Ben Solo) or Supreme Commander Snoke. Two dudes with lots on their mind.
How frustrated is Supreme Commander Snoke? His response (via email) is
“I just spent 200 trillion trillion on this project. It took us billions of labor hours to build, and years to build, and you guys picked a boot that saved us 200,000 Imperial credits and now my Station is gone?
I expect your resignation on my desk. Please see HR for your exit interview”
I imagine this is exactly what Supreme Commander Snoke would write.
Failure in the Empire is probably different than failure of an IP in a 28nm or 16nm or 10nm or 7nm chip.
Your boss isn’t Captain Phasma or General Hux or Kylo Ren
Your CEO isn’t Commander Snoke. (right?)
USB IP isn’t Boots.
The point in this story is small decisions to save money increase risk, and increase it significantly. With the cost of building a chip in effort and dollars, why risk so much to save so little.
USB 3.1 Certification – Super Important
Eric Esteve published an article on “Why USB 3.1 Certification is a “Must Have”?” in SemiWiki. Highly recommended reading.
The new DesignWare Technical Bulletin has just been published
This quarterly newsletter provides the latest information on DesignWare® IP including in-depth technical articles, whitepapers, videos, webinars and more. You can read the full newsletter online. Below are the USB focused articles which I highly recommend.
Just prior to that, I was managing 1394 (Firewire) and IrDA IP. My friend left the company, to go be a director of marketing elsewhere. USB was assigned to me. USB 2.0 took off in flash drives and storage. And here I am 16 years later.
USB is easy because USB is hard
As always we see lots of competition. USB seems easy because it’s easy for consumers. At times our customers and our competitors believe USB is easy.
It is not.
The fact is the USB-IF (through a program of strict compliance testing and logo certification) made USB super reliable. Many companies do not use the Logo. When they don’t, they still use the compliance tests, the equipment specified, and the procedures to test their products and cables and connectors.
Synopsys USB looks easy because:
- The Synopsys USB engineering team is truly outstanding.
- They work harder than any engineering team I’ve worked with
- Their effort and experience has made them (in my mind) the best USB engineers in the world
- Their execution is outstanding. (Not perfect, just outstanding)
Synopsys has been first in USB since USB 2.0
- First with a USB 2.0 Device in 1999
- First with USB 2.0 Host in 2001
- First with USB 2.0 OTG in 2003
- First with USB 2.0 PHYs
- First with USB 2.0 PHYs in lots of process nodes
- Billions of units of USB 2.0 shipped
- First with USB 2.0 Certifications (lots)
- First with USB 3.0 Device
- First with USB 3.0 xHCI Host
- First with USB 3.0 Dual Role Device and OTG
- First with USB 3.0 PHYs
- First with USB 3.0 PHYs in lots of process nodes
- 100s of millions of Units of USB 3.0 shipped
- First with USB 3.0 Certifications (lots)
- First with USB 3.1 controller IP
- First with USB 3.1 Gen 2 PHY IP
- First with Type C IP
- First with DisplayPort 1.3 Type C IP
- First with USB 3.1 Certification (not lots, not yet)
You can tell certifications are important because I said so. Lots.
(According to Mick this is humorous. I’m undecided on this point. I’ve added this bit as he can be quite entertaining and I trust it will be funny to at least one person)
In addition, we helped contribute and refine interfaces like UTMI+ and ULPI PHY interfaces. We contributed to the software register interfaces to standardize drivers like xHCI for the USB 3.0 and USB 3.1 standard hosts.
Despite clear leadership over decades – With each new generation of buyers and engineers, we need to re-prove ourselves. I love this because it keeps us sharp. It keeps us working hard to prove we add value. Each thing we do to make the IP better, each feature has value.
As Synopsys, the people are the IP. The people make the USB good and provide the best support in the world. USB from hard work.
USB is easy because USB is hard.
For your entertainment, here’s a link to Conan O’Brian interviewing one of the co-creaters of USB, Ajay Bhatt.
It’s great to visit with our customer DisplayLink. They make these great chips with our USB and HDMI IP. They prototype on HAPS. They make great, fun useful products. I use a docking station that contains their chips. Here’s a video demonstration from last September showing the multi-OS support for Windows and MacOS (and other stuff).