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USB 3.0 controller brings GigE data to slimmer laptops

Posted: 19 Aug 2015     Print Version  Bookmark and Share

Keywords:Cypress Semiconductor  Gigabit Ethernet  laptop  USB 3.0  controller 

Cypress Semiconductor Corp. has introduced what it describes as a high-throughput, low-power SuperSpeed USB controller that converts Gigabit Ethernet (GigE) data to USB 3.0 data. According to the company, the EZ-USB GX3 controller is aimed at slimmer laptop designs that include an ultra-thin USB Type-C port and no bulky Ethernet port.

GX3 provides comprehensive driver support for all major operating systems including Windows, Mac OS, Linux, Android and Chrome, enabling seamless plug-and-play operation via a USB 3.0 port on any system, including laptops, tablets, docking stations, IP set-top boxes and smart TVs.

Conventional USB 3.0 to GigE bridge solutions present designers with limited throughput performance and power management challenges. For throughput, converting GigE data packets to USB 3.0 data packets reduces the throughput of conventional USB 3.0 to GigE bridge controllers to around 700Mb/s to 800Mb/s. EZ-USB GX3 uses a proprietary data transfer mechanism that sends multiple GigE data packets in bursts over USB to provide 910Mb/s throughput, which is comparable to the 950Mb/s throughput of native GigE solutions. For power, it is difficult for a conventional USB 3.0 to GigE solution to support low-power modes of both the USB 3.0 and GigE standards, but GX3 offers a power-efficient solution for both with multiple power-saving modes.


The EZ-USB GX3 controller includes on-chip Gigabit Ethernet MAC and PHY support 802.3az Energy Efficient Ethernet and other advanced power management features, including Wake-on-LAN, dynamic power saving modes during idle or light traffic, and an AutoDetach feature that "soft-disconnects" the GX3 from the USB host whenever Ethernet cable is unplugged. The USB PHY and controller are fully compliant with the USB Link Power Management (LPM) policy, supporting U0, U1, U2 and U3 low-power states. Furthermore, GX3 includes an IPv4/IPv6 packet Checksum Offload Engine (COE) to reduce CPU loading, providing IPv4 IP/TCP/UDP/ICMP/IGMP and IPv6 TCP/UDP/ICMPv6 checksum and generation.

The USB Type-C standard is gaining rapid support with top-tier PC makers by enabling slim industrial designs, easy-to-use connectors and cables, the ability to transmit multiple protocols and 100W power delivery (PD), a significant improvement over the previous 7.5W standard. The USB Type-C standard's 2.4mm-high connector plug is significantly smaller than current 4.5mm USB Type-A standard connectors. It also allows for transport of USB signals and DisplayPort signals on the same connector.

The CYUSB3610 EZ-USB GX3 controller is sampling and is available in a 68-pin QFN package. Additionally, Cypress offers a USB Type-C to Gigabit Ethernet Dongle Reference Design with complete hardware design files (schematics, board layout, etc.).

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