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  • About

    Covering the latest trends and topics in USB IP.

    I 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, I 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 I’ve been here since. I also served as Chairman of the USB On-The-Go Working Group for the USB Implementers Forum from 2004-2006.

    I 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. I’m a licensed Professional Engineer in Civil Engineering in the State of California
    - Eric Huang

Synopsys at Type C (USB-C) Plugfest and Synopsys USB Type C IP Solutions

Posted by Eric Huang on July 30th, 2015

Morten Christiansen authored today’s blog on the industry’s first plugfest earlier this month.  At this exciting event, USB Engineers (no marketing people generally) bring their products on carts, and go from hotel room to hotel room interoperating their products with stationary products.  Morten as spent a lot of time writing and contributing to standards at Ericsson for mobile phones.  He’s our Technical Marketing Manager for USB products, a great guy and a fantastic engineer, and a true expert on USB applications.  Hopefully he will write for us more in the future.

 

USB Type C on HAPS Hanging out on a cart in a Hotel room for the plugfest

Picture 1:  A cart with multiple PCs, FPGA boards, power supplies and cables is required to move around and test prototypes. This is the ‘business end’ of the cart.

I attended the Type-C InterOp Event in Portland, OR a few weeks ago. InterOp Events and PlugFests are fun, scary and interesting. Test results are for information only and not published. Without breaking any confidentiality agreements; here are some of my thoughts on Type-C based on this event:

InterOp background:

The purpose of an InterOp Event is to provide the industry an opportunity for early testing of devices and systems. Early products are by definition designed based on an immature understanding of the relevant specifications. It also happens that errors or inconsistencies exists in the specifications. How the design handles this affect interoperability. However, early testing mainly benefits the end-users. By testing and verifying products before they are shipping in volume to end-users, specification compliance and interoperability is verified.

Products based on mature specifications can easily and effectively be tested by certified test-houses. The process is simple: Pack up the system, send it to the test-house and wait for the test certificate. When designers do their job properly; no excitement. InterOp Events and PlugFests on the other hand are far more interesting.

This Type-C InterOp Event had approx 100 registered attendees. 45 registered roving devices moved around the hotel for 3 days. Each of the devices could visit 26 test suites with vendor systems, hosts and stationary devices. I addition, the USB-IF hosted 5 compliance test suites.

The fun:

Packing, shipping and setting up the prototype system, lugging it around for 3 days before repacking and preparing for transport back to HQ is not fun. Meeting old friends from yesteryears is fun. Reminding each other of previous events, non-working devices, the steep learning curve and the first successes. “And this time we are so much better prepared.” As a former designer I also enjoyed technical discussions with

The scary:

InterOp can be scary. Hopefully the “will it work?” question has been addressed in the lab before going to such an event. However there is always the possibility that your product could “crash and burn”. At this event, there were no recorded casualties. I am aware of one system that died after connecting to an alien device. However as the backup system arrived next morning, the dead system suddenly worked again. Apparent self-healing is one of the interesting things that does happen at InterOp. It also happens that systems and devices die overnight, for no apparent reason. At previous events, recorded casualties have been numerous. 5V@3A is significant power and can cause damage in modern chips that work at less than 1V. When Power Delivery is enabled, up to 20V@5A is available. Systems have actually caught fire at previous InterOp events!

Synopsys USB Type Con on HAPS DX at July 2015 USB-C Plugfest

Picture 2: Synopsys side of interoperability testing with USB-C.  (We can’t show the others’ end products, those are confidential)

The interesting:

Most vendors believe their design is the best. The design has been systemized to meet market requirements. Designers made all the right detailed choices and tradeoffs. And their design will dominate the market. At InterOp you learn that other vendors and designers disagree with you! The range of different system designs and detailed solutions was amazing. However as long as it works, all is fine. And something has been learned, that will be useful in your next design. Admittedly, not all competitor’s design choices are fully understood. For a designer that is an interesting challenge!

The summary:

Type-C has arrived. The July 2015 Type-C InterOp Event showed a range of Type-C solutions that are becoming mature and ready for products. Type-C is not just for USB but also for Power Delivery and Alternate Modes. In particular DisplayPort Alternate Mode is ready for product deployment.

Multiple Type-C products have already been launched, using external support chips and multiple discrete components. More and more products will be offered with Type-C. The external support chips become more integrated with fewer discrete external components required. Implementing Type-C becomes easier.

Fully integrated and optimized native Type-C solutions in SoCs and ASICs are not practical for some products. Optimized Type-C system partitioning is possible. Future Type-C solutions will ensure Type-C is the preferred and most widely used wired interface for consumer electronics for the next 10-15 years.

 

Type C - Plugfest 1 July 2015 - Multi-Connector DisplayPort and USB

Picture 3: Some Type-C external support chips already exist; this chip combines USB and DisplayPort. In the future this functionality will be integrated into the SoC.

Type-C is happening now!

End of Morten’s Blog Entry

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Synopsys USB Type-C IP Solution

And we announced our USB Type-C solution – Normally I’d write something up about this, but the writing is so good, just click on the picture below to read about it, and see it in action.

Synopsys Type C PHY announcement

Here’s your jokes of the blog

Q: What did the peanut say to the elephant?
A: Nothing: peanuts can’t talk.

Q: What do you give a seasick elephant?
A: Lots of room.

Q: How is an elephant like an apricot?
A: They are both gray. Well, except the apricot.

Q: What do you call an elephant that rides a bus?
A: A passenger.

Q: What do you get if you take an elephant into work?
A: Sole use of the elevator.

Thanks to the Thought Palace for these SFW jokes at 131 Elephant Jokes

http://jens.mooseyard.com/2009/09/07/The-Top-131-Elephant-Jokes/

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Posted in Type C, USB-C | No Comments »

The State of USB – Part 1 – USB 3.1 and USB Type C (USB-C)

Posted by Eric Huang on July 21st, 2015

The State of USB – Part 1 – USB 3.1 and USB Type C (USB-C)

How many engineers does it take to change a lightbulb.

- None, they just define darkness as the new industry standard.

How do you make a hot dog stand?

-Steal its chair.

What’s orange and sounds like a parrot?

- A carrot!

System makers now ship wide range of products with Type C.  In addition, to USB 3.1 Add-In cards for PCs and the Nokia N1 Tablet,  we now have SanDisk USB flash drives, and mobile phones in China.   You can buy a MacBook today with Type C only, and order a Google Chromebook Pixel 2015 with USB Type-C (and some USB Type A’s also) directly from Google.

TypeC as of June 2015

Maybe the Windows 10 enabled Dell Venue 11 will ship before the end of the year?  It’s got USB Type-C as standard.

The HP Pavilion x2 Starts Shipping July 21HP Pavillion x2 with Type C June 2015

http://www.theverge.com/2015/6/18/8800583/hp-first-usb-c-device-release-date

And the phone maker OnePlus bets big on USB Type-C.  They launch the OnePlus 2 phone on July 27 with a Type C connector.  It will be the very first Virtual Reality product launch/media event ever (apparently, according to OnePlus.

https://forums.oneplus.net/threads/oneplus-2-the-worlds-first-product-launch-in-vr.318285/

Here’s the source for the Cable Pictures

http://news.mydrivers.com/1/435/435910.htm

Thunderbolt 3 and USB Type C

“Thunderbolt™ 3 is computer port nirvana…” Words never used together before, but now used in the Thunderbolt blog .

Thunderbolt 3 (TB3) supports

-          Thunderbolt 3 at 40 Gbps

-          Displayport 1.2 (8 lanes supporting up to two 4K displays)

-          USB 3.1 at 10 Gbps

-          PCIe Gen 3 (4 lanes)

TB3andProtocolsT

TB3 uses the USB-C connector as the only connector going forward for TB3, supporting all these features.  They also promote USB power delivery for 15W to 100 W of power in either direction. (This requires more chips and software intervention).  (Note: the leader for Thunderbolt is Jason Ziller, formerly Chair of the USB-IF who launched the USB 2.0 standard back in 1999)
In an interview with ZDNet, the representatives of the innovative inventing company of TB3, indicate that TB3 could ship in as many as 100 million units.  (At least I think this is what the article says, it’s a little unclear if it’s with regard to Type C or TB3. The writer indicates it’s TB3).

Paradoxically, boosting the speed of Thunderbolt to 40 Gbps, and adopting a USB port actually keeps Thunderbolt going as a standard. It’s 4x the speed of USB 3.1 and supports those people using SSD Raid devices for storage and editing of off-PC content (and of course delivering DisplayPort video).

I suspect, but don’t know, that the company building TB3 will have a single chip that will be able to support TB3 and USB 3.1 all in one. I’m not sure exactly how this will be done.

AnandTech writes a superb summary of TB3, read it here. http://www.anandtech.com/show/9331/intel-announces-thunderbolt-3

First USB-C Docking Stations

Predictably, to support the Apple MacBook, OWC started taking pre-orders for the OWC Docking Station delivering in October.   It’s called a USB 3.1 Docking Station, so for most people, this will confuse them into thinking it supports 10 Gbps.  In fact, USB 3.1 supports all speeds and this one supports what we call USB 3.1 Gen 1 speeds, or 5 Gbps.

 Oneplus Type C

oneplus-2-usb-1 - Type C Cable

Picture Source: https://eshop.macsales.com/preorder/OWC-USB-C-Dock/

Press Release: http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/other-world-computing-announces-new-usb-c-dock-available-for-pre-order-300095660.html

Expect more Type-C docking stations to be announced in the coming months.

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The First USB Type C battery, probably with Power Delivery

This new product from MOS will charge not just your MacBook but 2 full sized tablets at the same time.  It’s 15,000 mAh which is about the size of 3 laptop batteries (although the largest USB battery I’ve found to date is 20,000mAh).  It also has a Hub.

Type C USB Battery - Charging 3 devices -Gizmodo 557a5b9dc098db5329e27fff_MOS-GO_Charging_Infinite

There’s a little more information here: http://mosorganizer.com/reach-go

It’s not clear to me if this battery also has USB Power Delivery, or only Type C’s increased power over USB Battery Charging or USB 3.0 style charging. More on those specific values in a later post.

That’s all for the moment. The next entry will be on IoT, the State of USB 3.1, or something else.

The Science of Bacon

https://youtu.be/27EBed9rzs8

The Science of the appeal of food pictures

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Posted in Type C, USB 3.1 | No Comments »

How will USB used in IoT? – Part 1

Posted by Eric Huang on June 22nd, 2015

How will USB be used in IoT – Part 1 of a 3 part series

Two cupcakes sitting together in the oven. One says to the other “Wow, it’s getting hot in here.”

The other cupcake says, “Oh my gosh! A talking cupcake!”

The Internet of Things (IoT) refers to the huge market of product connected to the internet that aren’t phones, tablets, TVs, or set top boxes.  It includes anything from wearables like smartwatches and fitness bands tracking heart rates, steps taken, flights of stairs walked, heart rates, appointment reminders, text messages and occasionally the time of day.   The other broad category is for machine to machine communication.  Often these devices report current conditions or control systems and report/receive commands to other systems, Skynet or H.A.L. or whoever.

Wireless and Low Power – They often have networking of some kind. WiFi, Zigbee, and Low Power Bluetooth.  They may be fully wired into the internet in some cases. Some are battery powered, solar powered, or tethered to AC power.

Wearables and Machine to Machine

Click Image to zoom in

 

IoT devices will be everywhere reporting to us through a machine intermediary or plugged in directly to our brains through our eyes and ears.

Since USB is everywhere[citation needed], the logical question is “USB in IoT SoC? Which markets and why”

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How will USB be used in IoT?

USB is used for Power and Programming

With Wearables, USB is the only consumer interface

  1. It’s a Small Form factor connector (USB Type C or USB-C)
  2. Faster charging with USB-C at 15W
    1. Supported at
      1. USB 1.1 (Low Speed/Full Speed) up from 2.5W
      2. USB 2.0 (High Speed), and USB 3.0 up from 2.5 W
      3. USB 3.0 (SuperSpeed or USB 3.1 Gen 1) up from 4.5W
    2. No need for Battery Charging circuitry and up from 7.5W
  3. Little to no power consumed in keep alive suspend state
  4. No power consumed when not connected

Power with Type C and PD

Click Image to zoom in

Wearables will primarily use wireless probably low power Bluetooth to synchronize data between your smartphone, tablet, or PC and your wearable.   The wearable will only connect to the internet through another device in most cases to preserve power.

In some cases, you will have a specialized box in your home that you might synchronize the wearable with, for those that don’t want to manage more apps on your phone.  The synchronization will likely be wireless, but it may also be a charging station, so one location for both charging and synchronization.

In a few cases, especially by the manufacturer, USB will be used for initial programming, or for firmware updates when wireless updates have failed.

Expect USB 3.0 in wearables because when properly implemented, USB 3.0 gives more options for USB use to connect to both external devices and internally to other chips.  In this case, a USB 3.0 Dual Role Device is the best option.

Inside Wearables, USB will be used alongside PCIe as a chip-to-chip interface. To add special wireless or other features, the ubiquity of USB allows for the addition of low cost I/Os or other features to a system level design.   So the SoC made in huge volumes, can have a PCIe or USB interface to connect to another chip inside the wearable, and that second chip can have other interfaces or customizations.  The second chip can be in a larger process node, and potentially be made or purchased in smaller volumes.

I highly recommend this article from Alf Petter Syvertsen at Silicon Labs who discusses how USB is used in a IoT devices:

http://www.embedded.com/design/power-optimization/4439531/USB-connectivity-in-a-battery-powered-IoT-world

And to promote more singing in science and engineering:

1)      The Periodic Table Song

2)      A USB Song

The Periodic Table Song from ASAPScience on YouTube

https://youtu.be/zUDDiWtFtEM

A USB Song – I’m not sure how I feel about this song. It isn’t great. It’s a lot better than anything I could produce.

https://youtu.be/YkzpXgzUB8s

Send me your comments via email (You know how) or post below).

Check out the previous entries on HIP Prototyping and USB 3.1 and Type C.  (I really need to update you more on these, probably next time).

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Go to market months faster with Hybrid IP Prototyping (HIP) AND USB 3.1 Shipping from its Creator

Posted by Eric Huang on June 5th, 2015

Hybrid IP Prototyping and USB 3.1 ahead, but first an opening joke

An old man thinks his wife is losing her hearing. He calls the doctor about it and the doctor says he can do a little experiment to determine the severity, “Ask her a question from the next room in a normal tone of voice, and keep asking while coming closer until she can hear you. That way you know the range of her hearing.”

That night, he’s sitting on his easy chair in the living room while his wife is in the kitchen cooking dinner. He estimates he’s about 30 feet away. In a normal tone of voice, he says, “What’s for dinner?”

She doesn’t respond, so he gets up and walks to the kitchen doorway, about 20 feet away, and asks, “What’s for dinner?”

She still doesn’t respond so he walks 10 feet closer and asks, “What’s for dinner?”

She still doesn’t say anything, so he gets right up beside her and asks, “What’s for dinner?”

She says, “For the fourth time we’re having chicken!”

This joke reminds me of how I learned about Hybrid IP Prototyping.  After about 1 hour of discussion with our engineering experts on Hybrid Prototyping, I think I’ve heard/understand all the value that comes from Hybrid IP Prototyping, or HIP prototyping. (Thank you for your patience)

Get HIP, Save Time

  • RESULT – drivers ready immediately when FPGA prototypes or silicon are ready.
  • Software engineers can get started IMMEDIATELY
    • No Waiting for Hardware engineers to deliver RTL or FPGA platforms
    • Write drivers in C
    • No new methodologies
    • Use your favorite 3rd party debuggers you already know
    • No Hardware engineers needed
      • No FPGA reprogramming needed,
      • Models available for ARM and ARC (yeah, we know you all use ARM…)
      • Real time interoperability
        • Connect through from Virtual to FPGA to real, external products
        • Real drivers running at real time

It’s clear to me that choosing Hybrid Prototyping is the only way to develop new chips with new microprocessors.  You save so a tremendous amount of time.

The process goes something like this.  You take our Hybrid IP Prototyping Kit which includes both  Virtual Prototyping Kit (models that run on any PC) and a IP Prototyping Kit (FPGA Hardware with our IP pre-installed)

DesignWare Hybrid IP Prototyping Kits - What is HIP

Virtual saves time

The Virtual Prototyping Kit (VDK) includes the Virtualizer, Models of a Microprocessor (use yours or ours).  Any software programmer can develop and run drivers in pure C.  They can use the debuggers they always use. The models of the microprocessor and other IP will run and respond.

The reason this saves time is because if you are moving to a new microprocessor, like an ARM A57/A53, or an ARC processor, the software developers can start working on drivers IMMEDIATELY.   No waiting for RTL or FPGA prototypes or chips.  The models are already here today.

In fact, every major mobile applications processor chip company already does this.  They use VDKs for driver development.  The SoCs are bigger and more complex, and they have 1000s of software people.

The advantage of this is that the drivers are real drivers, the models run “at speed” meaning nothing gets slowed down.

Big bonus: The Software engineer doesn’t need to know how to use an FPGA board.  Doesn’t need to know how to configure RTL, or synthesize RTL, or close timing of the RTL to fit it on the FPGA board.

IP Prototyping Kit with our USB IP already programmed into it with our PHY Card.  You connect via PCIe from the IP Prototyping kit into to a Linux PC running the VDK. (It could be used with a standard Windows PC if it isn’t being used for HIP.)

The IP Prototyping Kit saves time because you can put your exact USB 3.0 (or USB 3.1) product onto that hardware.  In Device mode, the system is reprogrammable to act as almost any kind of device. So you can use it out of the box for prototyping.   If you want to customize it, you can. A Hardware engineer can go ahead, and re-synthesize our controller in the design, adding your special logic.

However, for 90% of what software engineers need, the IP Prototyping Kit can be used as is.

When used together with the VDK, the IP Prototyping kits become the Hybrid Prototyping kit.

IP Prototyping Kit saves Time

IP Prototyping Kit with our USB IP already programmed into it with our PHY Card.  You connect via PCIe from the IP Prototyping kit into to  (Picture above)

The IP Prototyping Kit saves time because you can put your exact USB 3.0  product onto that hardware.

As a Device,  the system is reprogrammable to act as almost any kind of device. So you can use it out of the box for prototyping.   If you want to customize it, you can. A Hardware engineer can go ahead, and re-synthesize our controller in the design, adding your special logic.

As a Host, you can test different USB peripherals, real ones, against the real drivers, while the microprocessor is still under development.

For 90% of what software engineers need, the IP Prototyping Kit can be used as is.

When used together with the VDK, the IP Prototyping kits become the Hybrid Prototyping kit.

They allow for the speed of driver development with the VDK and real testing with real products with the IP Prototyping Kits with that real USB port.

You really need to be looking at this for your new design

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USB 3.1 from it’s Creator arrives in 2015

Gigabyte announced it will support a Thunderbolt 3 platform with integrated USB 3.1 Host support on PCs later this year.   The chip will be sourced from the innovator that invented USB.

It’s a Premium USB 3.1 I/O controller.

http://www.gigabyte.com/press-center/news-page.aspx?nid=1370

And here’s a robot that can make over 300 custom made burgers each hour.

https://youtu.be/iQ_fSP3LGw8?t=24s

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Posted in FPGA-Based Prototyping, IP Accelerated, IP Prototyping Kits, Thunderbolt, Type C, USB 3.0, USB 3.1, Virtual Prototyping | Comments Off

USB 3.1 and Type-C Arrive at CES 2015

Posted by Eric Huang on February 1st, 2015

Great news!

USB 3.1 kicks off the new year in real products at CES 2015.

Nokia demonstrated its the world first mobile device with the Type-C connector. It’s the Nokia N1 Tablet.

Nokia N1 with Type C Connector

Nokia N1 with USB 3.1 Type C

Don’t waste your time looking for videos of this on YouTube. They don’t exist, just junk videos (but if you find a real video, comment below), all the articles you need are linked below but here are the details.  Or go to the Nokia N1 Site here

 

http://arstechnica.com/gadgets/2015/01/usb-3-1-and-type-c-the-only-stuff-at-ces-that-everyone-is-going-to-use/

The units went on sale in China and apparently sold out in just minutes.  I’d like to think it’s because of the new USB 3.1 Type C connector. (I suspect it’s because it’s an reasonably priced, feature rich tablet with an Atom processor it.

The USB-IF also demonstrated two SSDs, super fast ones that probably operate at 10Gbit/second read speeds. They connected these to a device that made them into USB 3.1 SSDs or mass storage devices.

http://www.cnet.com/uk/news/usb-type-c-hands-on-its-here-and-its-great/

Also, MSI announced the world’s first two PC motherboards with USB 3.1, one for desktops (I think) and one for laptops.  According to Anandtech, one will ship in February with the Standard A USB port that we all know and mostly love on Billions of PCs.  MSI boards with the new Type C Connector will be released in Q2.

Anandtech actually got a PC Motherboard version with a Standard A port supporting USB 3.1.  The motherboard uses a discrete USB 3.1 Host chip from ASMedia.

To create a USB 3.1 Device to test with, it looks like they take to SATA III SSDs, connect them to a ASMedia chip that treats them like a RAID system.  Doing so allows them to access both SSDs simultaneously.  This is important because SATA III maximum theoretical 6 Gbps.  Real speeds are limited by several factors (read this old blog on Factors Effecting Performance).

Since USB 3.1 is 10 Gbps, and SATA III is 6 Gbps, the RAID configuration allows the user to get speeds up to must faster speeds, In this case about 170% faster than the native PC USB 3.0 port on the same motherboard.

Read the Anandtech article here http://www.anandtech.com/show/8938/testing-usb-3-1-some-preliminary-results-with-the-msi-x99a-gaming-9-ack

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The Best USB 3.1 Webinar In the Universe

Finally, we had a fantastic USB 3.1 Webinar in January with 10s of thousands of attendees (maybe a few less than that). Watch the Webinar here.  Matt Myers, our USB Architect, and an author of the USB 3.1 Specification, USB 3.1 xHCI Host Specification, USB 3.0 Specification, and the USB 3.0 xHCI Host Specification.  He’s also written stuff for something called PCI Express.  I hear it’s popular. We’ve sold it over 1000 times according to our press release (compared to USB over 3000 times)…

Anyways, this most fabulous webinar points you to the trends and timings for when USB 3.1 products are likely to appear.  And after the best 23 seconds of your life listen to me talk about USB 3.1 market trends, you can listen Matt’s dulcet tones with technical content on protocol and physical layer changes to USB 3.0 to make USB 3.1 possible.

3 Jokes

The only time incorrectly isn’t spelled incorrectly is when it’s spelled incorrectly.

A magician was driving down the road, and then he turned into a driveway.

In the Miss Universe pageant, why are all of the winners from Earth?

A salesman knocks on a door and a little kid answers. The kid’s got a cigar in one hand and a beer in the other. Salesman says, “Are your parents home?” Kid says, “What do you think?”

Two penguins are standing on an ice floe and one penguin says, “Have you seen my brother?” And the other penguin says, “I don’t know. What does he look like?”

A bird in a tuxedo walked into a bar. The bartender said: “Nice tuxedo.” The bird said : “How do you know I am not a penguin?”

How did the tree get on the computer? It logged in.

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Posted in Type C, USB 3.1 | Comments Off

USB 3.0 IP Prototyping Kits from Synopsys (and More!)

Posted by Eric Huang on November 20th, 2014

USB 3.0 IP Prototyping Kits from Synopsys (and More!)

The super awesome news is that we just made your software engineering and hardware engineering tasks easier and faster.

In my 14 years in USB IP, a huge problem for us and our customers has been FPGA prototyping.

For our customers back in 2000, they would have to:

  • Spend time building a FPGA board or
  • Spent time adapting an existing board with an FPGA that might not meet timing or have capacity
  • Spend time adapting a board to work with a PHY card
  • Try to acquire a PHY card (or build a PHY card)

In fact, used off the shelf FPGA platforms from 3 companies, then built our own custom boards.  It was painful.

  • So we acquired Synplicity just so we could have the FPGA tools and boards to prototype USB 3.0.
  • (Note: We did not purchase Synplicity just so we could prototype USB 3.0 more easily)

Typical customers need to prototype to test architecture, develop software, test PHY or SERDES chips.

By having these prebuilt systems available with HAPS, our customers can do all of this immediately with USB 3.0 Host, USB 3.0 Device and USB 3.0 SSIC Host or Device).

(Oh and a bunch of other protocols including HDMI 2.0, DDR, MIPI,  and PCIe.)

This is all part of our IP Accelerated initiative to help our customers save time at every step in their design flow. 

For more on how we save customer’s time around integrating IP, read this article from by Peggy  Aycinena over at EDACafe.

Videos, Jokes and more after the jump

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For more:

And here’s a neat video “I Won’t Let You Down” from OK Go. (I think it should the Synopsys IP theme song)

 

Jokes – Read Mick’s “Breaking the Three Laws

The computer programmer’s wife had a baby and the doctor handed the baby to the father. His wife said: “So, is it a boy or a girl?” The programmer said, “yes”.  Read Tom’s “A View from the Top” blog

How did the tree get on the computer? It logged in. Read the “Express Yourself” PCIe Blog by Scott and Richard.

How do you keep bacon from curling in the pan? You take away its tiny brooms.  Read the “Committed to Memory” DDR Blog by Graham and Mark

Two penguins are standing on an ice floe and one penguin says, “Have you seen my brother?” And the other penguin says, “I don’t know. What does he look like?”

What does IDK stand for?” “I don’t know.” “OMG, nobody does!”

There are two types of people in the world: those who can extrapolate from incomplete data.

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Posted in IP Accelerated, IP Prototyping Kits, USB 3.0 IP | Comments Off

Synopsys announces Industry’s First and Most Comprehensive USB 3.1 Solution (with Market Trends!)

Posted by Eric Huang on October 29th, 2014

(I wanted to say the “Universe’s First” but our Legal, Marketing, Finance, IT and Shipping and Cafeteria people all said I can’t prove it so I can only claim “Industry’s First”.)

Synopsys First and Most Comprehensive USB 3.1 Solution

Why should you Care? Isn’t the world Wireless?
USB 3.1 will be the leading/dominant wired interface in the world of tomorrow.
You’ll have WiFi and Faster WiFi. And Faster 5G Modems and 11.5 G modems..
You’ll have Wired. It will be USB.

What are the trends leading?
For USB 3.1 – Creation of Content – 8K video and Big MP pictures.
- Creation of 24K and soon 8K videos, even with compression will create giant file sizes. Even Wireless Networks will feel the strain. Storing and backing up all of this will take lots of storage capacity.

The best example that exists today is the GoPro Hero4+ Silver records 4k video at 30 frames per second.

The smallest card you should buy is a 32GB.

Why?

Because 9 minutes of 4k30fps video takes 4GB of space according to PocketLint’s review.

So you can record a maximum of maybe 54 minutes of video.   You will certainly be recording more than 54 minutes of video so be prepared to buy lots of cards.

The enthusiasts who shoot 4K video for work and for fun drive this market. They will create content and need to store it. It goes to PCs for editing, and then to USB 3.1 SSDs for storage externally.

They will use powerful processors, and external drives.  External fast drives allows for the fast scaling/addition of more storage with no penalty because it’s external storage.

Fast External StorageExternal as fast as Internal
Storage First, Connected to PCs – Enthusiasts who shoot and record lots of video will adopt USB 3.1 first.
They will add USB 3.1 Host Controller Cards to their Desktop PCs and buy external USB 3.0 and USB 3.1 SSDs for storage.
SSDs are clearly the way to go as Hard Drives or “spinning rust” is on the way out.

NAND Flash Speeds have continued to increase. Samsung and Toshiba SSDs that run at 10Gbps have been shipping for over a year in volume. These have dropped in price and continue to drop in price. These are PCIe based chips.
It will be easy to add a PCIe to USB 3.1 chip to convert these to USB 3.1 External Hard Drives.
The chips may initially cost $2-5, but they will drop to $2 pretty quick. Consumers will be able to pick up these faster SSDs using NAND flash chips for $200 or less to start with, depending on capacity. I’d guess 256 GB for sure, but likely 512GB by mid 2015. This is based on today’s Amazon price of $230 for a 512GB SSD from Crucial. If NAND flash is dropping in price at about 32% a year, this puts the retail price of this at about $160.

SSD 512 GB Crucial price on Amazon
A product maker could take the PCIe version of this drive, add a $5 chip to it (and the casing and cables) and still make a great margin at $200.
And the product would be 100% backward and forward compatible.
For PCs, you’ll be able to buy an Add-In card for your PC. It will probably in the range of $90-150.
So Storage and the enthusiasts who need that storage will be the first adopters.

These are the enthusiasts that will drive the first USB 3.1 purchases.

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We have an enormous amount of content for you to look through
Our Press Release

Our USB 3.1 Solution Datasheet

A Technical White Paper on USB 3.1

USB University with a USB 3.1 Technical Overview

Jeff Ravencraft talks about USB 3.1 Speed, Power, and One Connector

And Joyce Hsieh from Joinsoon talks about the new Type-C Connector in English and Chinese.

English Version

Chinese Version

For some Inspiration

And Self Organized Learning Environments with Grannies in the Cloud

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Posted in 4K Video, USB 3.1, USB 3.10 | Comments Off

USB Security Flaws Sensationalized and 100 Million products with Synopsys USB 3.0 Inside

Posted by Eric Huang on September 11th, 2014

A dog walks into a bar, sits down, looks and the menu and says, “Vodka Martini”.  The Bartender says, “This is amazing!  We don’t get a lot around here like you.”  The dog says, “At these prices, I’m not surprised.”

Over the past 6 weeks, I’ve received a huge number emails (37) regarding security flaws in USB Devices. 

I ignored all of them.

Until my dad sent me an email with concerns.

The article from Security Research Labs (SRL) called Turning USB Peripherals into BadUSB can be found here.  https://srlabs.de/badusb/

It’s a short fun read. 

Its says USB Peripherals, the firmware, can be infected, turn evil, and then steal your data. (It’s all true). 

They demonstrate it with an Android phone later.

Read the rest of the SRL site, and you will never use another electronic device.

SRL clearly identified a real risk.  It’s small to neglible, if you take the right precautions.

It points out vulnerabilities in:

  • Keyboards
  • Mice
  • Flash Drives
  • Android Phones

Billons of USBs – Sensational articles

It’s not billions.

Well, it is Billions if you believe Billions of people are effected by the Ebola Virus because we might be infected.

What’s even more interesting is the articles sensationalizing the BadUSB idea.

I hate them.   All of them.  They say “Billions of USB devices effected”

The coverage is sensationalist garbage of the kind meant to create controversy. Instead of talking about what you can do to stop it as a user, it just raises concerns without fact checking and thought.  

At the same time it’s a little right. (At least with regard to phones)

Here’s an example article: http://www.androidauthority.com/badusb-hack-412902/

 

You will be attacked via the internet thousands more ways

So let’s look at this with some logic.

For Evil, Infected USB to be useful, Break this into two things that have to happen.

1)      Infection – You need to infect the device/peripheral

2)      Retrieval - Get the Your Data back Evil Doers

Infection – Keyboards and Mice

This is so absurd, and non sexy, even the researchers don’t really care.

It would require either

a)      You bring your keyboard and mouse around and it gets infected by someone else’s PC, and you bring it home.

b)      Someone plugs in a random keyboard and mouse into your PC, and you decide to use it for while, and then they take it away. 

c)       Or the keyboard/mouse is infected by the manufactuer by the Russian Mafia at the factory. In this case, they are getting a whole lot of “a” “s” “d” and “w” sent to them by kids playing video games on their PCs.  

Retrieval –  Getting your valuable data back to the Russian Mafia

Here’s two ways

1)      The Mafia gets the keyboard/mouse back – This is silly.

2)      They send it over the internet – Usually requires you “allow” installation of something on your PC to let this happen. This is possible

Somehow, the keyboard/mouse installs some software to make your router reroute data to Russia.

Don’t install special software to run you keyboard or mouse.  Just use the Windows drivers. If you install special software, just download it from the manufacturer’s website like Microsoft or whoever built the keyboard/mouse (again, assuming it wasn’t built by the Russian Mafia).

Let’s go to the real risk, USB Flash Drives and Mobile Phones

Infecting USB Drives and Phones

This vulnerability isn’t new.   It’s always been there. The new thing is the firmware hack.  Specifically demonstrated against Flash Drives with Phison chips.

Preventing problems on USB Flash Drives

USB Flash Drives have always been vulnerable.  The USB Firmware vulnerability hack is new.   Here’s my thinking, it’s hard to infect these because they are all different. So again, you need to infect them either through bad software on the PC or by picking one up off the ground or accepting one from a stranger.

1)      Don’t install bad software on your PC

  1. Even if you did, the software would need to figure out and install the specific firmware for your flash drive to infect it

2)      Don’t pick up and use USB drives off the ground

3)      Don’t accept USB drives from strangers.

  1. Don’t accept candy from strangers
  2. Don’t accept car rides from strange men

Data Hygiene is Key – Keep your PC and Phone and Flash Drives Clean

Basically, treat your cheap, USB 2.0 drives as disposable when you are using them for transferring data between users.  If you are backing up to other USB 3.0 drivers or flash drives, make sure you only use these with your one PC.

Preventing problems on Android Phones

1)      Don’t install bad software on your phone

2)      Don’t pick up and use phones you buy used (or off the ground)

  1. Only buy phones directly from a the service provider that has been completely wiped and reformatted / cleaned
  2. If I were the Russian Mafia, I’d buy 10,000 phones, infect them, and sell them on-line at ½ price.

3)      Don’t accept Android phones from strangers

Seriously, just be careful what you install after you install Angry Birds.  And don’t be plugging your phone into a whole bunch of different computers.  And don’t be browsing around to dozens of unknown websites and clicking on stuff in your Android phone.

More likely scenarios

The bigger danger is if you are plugging your phone or flash drive into a lot of different PCs and those PCs somehow overwrite your phone firmware (should be almost impossible) or put a “virus” on your flash drive or phone the  normal way (more likely).

Infection through Infected Email or Attachments

-          Your best friend sends you awesome link to a funny video.

-          You click on it and get infected.

Infection through Pirated Movies/Videos

-          You or your awesome college roommate gives you flash drive with bit torrent pirated episodes of Game of Thrones Season 4.

-          You plug it into your PC

-          You copy the files to your PC.

-          You infect your PC.

Infection through a Website

-          You search for information on home cures for stomach aches

-          You search and find a site that leads to a pop-up that you try to dismiss

-          You infect your computer.

Infection in all these cases will also place a Retrieval component as well.  This allows the Russian Mafia to get the data from your infected device.

General Prevention – Same as for your PC.

-          Install and update Virus Protection and Internet Security Software

-          Put a Password on your Router. (Don’t use the default password because it could be easily hacked)

-          Install software on your computer that prevents you from going to “bad” sites like Norton Security.  Pay attention to warnings from Google

-          Only install software from “Trusted” sources.  Don’t install a driver from any site. For example, go to HP and get the right driver from hp.com.

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News

Oh and our customers shipped over 100 million products with USB 3.0

 

Here’s the link to original BadUSB article

http://arstechnica.com/security/2014/07/this-thumbdrive-hacks-computers-badusb-exploit-makes-devices-turn-evil/

Here’s the presentation (which is really quite interesting) at the Black Hat conference.

http://youtu.be/nuruzFqMgIw

 

And here’s an educator talking about what I call Positive Coaching.  She calls it building relationships to teach.  To me it’s all the same.

http://youtu.be/SFnMTHhKdkw

 

 

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Accelerated IP, USB and You

Posted by Eric Huang on June 2nd, 2014

Accelerated IP, USB and You

Saturday and Sunday I spent about 10 hours this week walking 10 miles dropping off over 500 flyers for my friend running for San Jose City Council. I learned the following:
1) People have nicer lawns and gardens than me
2) People have worse looking lawns and gardens than me
3) More people living in apartments vote than people in single family homes
4) People are really friendly and polite
5) Even the people who want you to go away (“No Solicitors Please, see the sign?”)
6) You probably won’t get shot after dark in San Jose as long as you are holding a clipboard and wearing shorts
There will be a prize for a math problem at the end of this blog related to the data above.

While I wasn’t getting shot in a dark suburban San Jose I contemplated our Accelerated IP program.

Accelerated IP and You

IP Accelerated combines engineering years of time savings and productivity enhancements that really does speed your time to market (and money).

Execs Explain IP Accelerated

Watch our John Koeter and Joachim Kunkel talk about what it all means.

Here’s the YouTube Link https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yS-q4mo1RQU

My thoughts

IP Accelerated goes beyond the 3 pieces everyone gets from us
1) IP – Digital Goodness
2) PHY – PHY Goodness
3) Verification IP – Simulation goodness

And Adds the Accelerated IP part
4) IP Prototyping Kit with – Faster IP design and debug
a. HAPS FPGA-Based Prototyping Platforms (say that 3 times fast)
b. With options of an implemented digital core (or 2 IPs like USB 3.0 or PCIe)
c. With options for a PHY card
5) Virtual Prototyping Development Kit (VDK) – Better control and visibility
a. An ARM microprocessor with Linaro OS (basically Linux)
b. Integrated with 3rd party debuggers (good ones ostensibly) that make it easy for you to use the software debugger you like
c. Eclipse-based Virtual Prototype Explorer for more control and visibility enabling hardware breakpoints (synchronized with your above favorite debugger).
d. Virtual Prototype Explorer for quicker analysis through better views
e. Scriptable scripty thingees for easier reproduction of events/issues/opportunities to improve your design
6) Subsystem Integration Services

IP Prototyping Kit Demonstration
In addition to some good music, this nicely summarizes what an IP Prototyping Kit is, I’m not sure why Asheesh gets music, but I think I need to add some music to my next video.

 Here’s the YouTube Link https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JYI1z0rTNLo

Virtual Prototyping Kit Demonstration
I thought the example in the demo here was interesting. 

Here’s the YouTube Link – http://youtu.be/NEGPOVVk334

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By the way, I just learned that there is a mountain range called the Denali Mountains in Alaska. I understand the Denali Mountains are lovely and full of bears that can run at 35 mph (70kph) or faster.
So for Goodness sake stay inside the tour bus to take pictures because I’m not coming out to save you when the bear rushes and tries to eat you.
But I will put the video up on YouTube.

For more on IP Accelerated (a lot more and better written go to the Press Release Here

and go to our

Math Problem at the end of this Blog

Assuming an average stride length of 0.60 meters, what was my average cadence while delivering flyers? A winner will be chosen from all the correct answers. The winner will receive the acknowledgment that their math knowledge is better than mine.

And me at DAC Last Year (and still trying to be as funny as Mick)

http://youtu.be/YhzbY8Kmrro

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Posted in Accelerated IP, FPGA-Based Prototyping, HAPS, USB 3.0 | 1 Comment »

Fleet-footed FemtoPHYs – The Smallest USB 3.0 and 2.0 PHYs in the Universe

Posted by Eric Huang on April 29th, 2014

Fast, Fabulous FemtoPHYs (Certified!)

The BIG news this week is small.   Our team built the tiny USB 3.0 and USB 2.0 femtoPHY  to save power and area.  50% less area than the previous generation picoPHY.  AND CERTIFIED by the USB-IF

At a 50% smaller size, to me it’s like:

  1. Being able to eat the same size 500 gram steak with all the gloriously delicious fat but at ½ the calories and ½ the triglycerides
  2. Running only 2.5 kilometers but getting the healthy heart benefit of running 5 kilometers
  3. Sleeping only 3.5 hours but feeling like I’ve slept for 7 hours (yes please invent this).
  4. Eating a whole box of chocolate but feeling the guilt of only eating 1/2 a box of chocolates

Less power, less area, same Super speed USB for USB 3.0 and Hi-Speed USB for USB 2.0.  For our many customers building mobile chips and TV chips with 2 or 4 or 8 USB PHYs, this is a huge savings in area on each chip and on each wafer. Assuming you get thousands of chips off a wafer, it adds up.

And,  AND the USB 3.0 and 2.0 PHYs are SuperSpeed USB and Hi-Speed USB certified.  This means they have tested for electrical and protocol and interoperability by a 3rd party independent lab.

YOU OBJECT AS FOLLOWS:  “But wait a minute, this is at 14nm/16nm!  It’s already a smaller process so isn’t it just smaller because of the process node? “

I RESPOND “The answer is “No.”  “

It turns out that analog designs don’t really shrink as you go down in process nodes. So this is a brand new architecture that lets us leverage our knowledge from supporting 1000s of tape-outs to shrink the design and deliver the fastest speeds.

Mr. PHY Guy himself Gervais Fong takes us through the specifics in his video showing our lab, our chips, the test equipment, and some eye diagrams in the video below

Eye diagrams show the rise and fall of data and how easy it is to read the data coming from the end of a USB cable. As data (USB data) runs down a cable in waves, it can degrade or close by the time it reaches the other end of the cable.  If the eye is closed, then the receiver can’t tell the difference between a 1 and a 0 and it can’t read the data. This means a retry is required, and you lose throughput and bandwidth. An open eye means it’s easy to read the data, there are fewer errors and maximum throughput.

For more about the FemtoPHY click here or on the image below

FemtoPHY!  All the flavor ½ the calories! (and certified)

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You see, you didn’t subscribe here’s a second blog in less than 2 months.

Oh, and you should be reading “Committed to Memory” by Marc Greenberg and Graham Allan about DDR,“Express Yourself” about PCIe by Scott Knowlton and Richard Solomon, and “Breaking the Three Laws” by Mick “I’m not dead” Posner who has finished his antibiotics and graced us with his coughing presense.

Why was he coughing? Because he was laughing so hard.
Probably at his own jokes.

Mick self-verifies that he is vastly funnier in person.

oh and if you can find an adjective that has an “f” sound that goes in front of Femto let  me know. I had also had the options of fleet-footed, fiery, future, flashy or fierce.  I preferred Fleet Footed, so I just changed it from Fast, Fabulous…

Buy Happiness (after you buy our FemtoPHY)

 

How to Buy Happiness – Proven by real scientists. You CAN buy happiness.  With Money.

http://on.ted.com/MNorton

Links to places in America that really could use your financial donation. You can see the poverty level for most of them. Search by zip code for school or cause near you.

http://www.donorschoose.org/

Links just in case

Here’s the Press Release Link http://news.synopsys.com/2014-04-29-Synopsys-New-Silicon-Proven-DesignWare-USB-3-0-and-USB-2-0-femtoPHY-IP-Cut-Area-by-50-Percent

Link to the Video Demonstration http://youtu.be/LFsEUQwN9js.

Link to the FemtoPHY details page http://www.synopsys.com/IP/InterfaceIP/USB/Pages/dw-femtophy.aspx

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