To USB or Not to USB


USB is easy because USB is hard (made by hard working engineers)

Back in the 20th century, my first meeting meeting as USB PMM was with Mr. Ed Beeman in December 1999.   In May, 2000, We demonstrated our USB 2.0 Device controller IP in an HP ScanJet scanner.  One of the very first demonstrations in an actual product.

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).

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