To USB or Not to USB


USB 2.0 Type-C IP for IoT – Today

Today we announced our USB 2.0 Type-C for IoT Edge applications.

It’s up to 50% smaller than alternatives

It uses up to 30% less power than alternatives

It saves our customers weeks to months of effort.


Our USB solution is the smallest on the market

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”

Low Power

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


Today’s Joke

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.”




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