To USB or Not to USB


LPM and HSIC – Light Technical and Synopsys Marketing

I’ve worked on little things like business reviews and integrated product plans the last several weeks.

In the meantime, I’m going to start catagorizing these entries as one of 3 things

1)      Marketing

2)      Technical Light

3)      Technical Heavy

4)      Synopsys Marketing

5)      Tech Life

6)      Rants

Okay, one of 6 things

This way you can decide if you really want to read the entry or not.

Several weeks ago we announced availability of our HSIC and LPM offerings in the PHY, controller, and verification IP fields.

Make no mistake, we actually have a complete, complete offering.

(I hate the word “solution”, it has no meaning since about 1999)

(Maybe before that, but my memory starts in 1999)

This means if you are building a chip with USB that needs these features, you can get 3 elements that you need.

The LPM feature on the PHY allows you to turn the PHY and controller faster on and off faster.  This means you can actually put your devices into a suspend mode more often because you can reliably turn the USB back on quickly when you need power.

This means optimizing the PHY and the controller timing to guarantee the faster on-off times.

The HSIC feature added a high-speed only path to connect to the Synopsys HSIC PHY.  The PHY consists of only the digital portion of the PHY and can be used for chip-to-chip communication on a PCB.  You don’t need 3.3V signaling for HSIC.  So you save power.  You can use standard USB drivers as well.  So if there is a USB device or peripheral chip (and there are lots) you can add an HSIC PHY to it, and make it an on PCB chip.  Similarly you can add a Host to an Apps chip to allow expandability using HSIC Host ports.

For example, in an STB, you could put a standard USB 2.0 EHCI Host on the PCB, run Linux on the board, and run multiple ports from the Host Controller.  Some of the ports could go outside the box, like on a Tivo box for a USB WiFi dongle.  Some of the ports could be used internal to the box on the PCB.  In this case an HSIC PHY would also be integrated into the chip.  HSIC lines would be drawn from the host port on the chip to another peripheral chip, say a SD card reader for reading SD cards plugged into the front of the set top box.   In this way, the HSIC allows use of standard USB Mass Storage, but uses less power and less area because the PHY is smaller (no analog) and the voltages required for HSIC are lower.

Verification IP from Synopsys – As you might guess, we heavily verify all our digital controllers with our Verification IP or VIP.  The VIP has both the LPM and HSIC features added in by this summer.  This is the same VIP that we run through our extensive constrained random verification suite for the controller.  The benefit is that the VIP gets a thorough verification both with the controller and in a stand-alone mode.  It’s actually verified twice completely.

We provide the same, well-verified verification IP for our customers to use.

(I also hate the word “very”.  My feeling is that using this word has even less meaning that the term “solution”)


HSIC High Speed Inter Chip LPM Link Power Management

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