SAN JOSE--In a move to extend plug-and-play capability for PCs, computer peripherals and embedded system designs, eight companies today endorsed Intel Corp.'s proposal to create a transceiver interface specification for second-generation Universal Serial Bus products. The new specification is expected to simplify product development by creating a standard interface between USB 2.0 transceivers and the Parallel Interface Engine.
Supporting the USB 2.0 Transceiver Macrocell Interface (UTMI) are: inSilicon, Hewlett-Packard, Intel, Lucent, Cypress, STMicroelectronics, Texas Instruments, Fujitsu, and Kawasaki LSI. USB 2.0 increases the speed of serial connections by 40 times to 480 megabits per second, compared to 12 Mbits/sec. with the current USB 1.1 standard.
The new transceiver interface will improve interoperability between new USB 2.0 products from different IC manufacturers, according to the nine companies endorsing the UTMI spec. Supporters compared the partitioning of USB 2.0 functions to that of the Ethernet Media Independent Interface (MII) standard, which defines the interface between physical Layer 1 PHYs and Layer 2 Media Access Controllers.
According to the nine companies, a well-defined media independent interface for USB 2.0 will ease product development and speed new devices to the marketplace. These companies also said a common UTMI specification will enable designers to choose from external transceiver chips or intellectual property macrocell for integration on ASICs, field-programmable logic, and systems-on-chip ICs.
"We are looking for a smooth transition to high volume as the overall USB 2.0 market demand increases," said Ed Beeman, USB 2.0 product architect manager for HP's Greeley Hardcopy Division. "Having the choice of a stand-alone transceiver chip or an integrated ASIC transceiver with a common interface would be a real plus. This is clearly a win/win for everyone."
Others agreed. "A standard interface simplifies designs and will speed to market USB 2.0 products," said Kevin Lynch, strategic marketing manager for Lucent Technologies Inc.'s Microelectronics Group. "Our standard product and ASIC customers are time-to-market driven, and cannot afford to customize interfaces for every USB 2.0 design. The UTMI standard streamlines both the design process and USB 2.0 interoperability."
A key benefit of the USB 2.0 spec will be the ability to mix-and-match standard components as well as ASICs or FPGAs with UTMI cores, said Barry Hoberman, chief technology officer of inSilicon Corporation, a subsidiary of Phoenix Technologies Ltd. The UTMI concept was originally proposed by inSilicon.