Smart Hub broadens application space

02 June 2015

Microchip announces USB3.0 Smart Hubs that enable host and device port swapping, I/O bridging, and other serial communication interfaces. 

The USB5734 and USB5744 feature an integrated microcontroller that enables new functionality for USB hubs while lowering overall BOM costs and reducing software complexity. The USB5734/44 family is USB-IF logo certified (TID 330000058) and features best-in-class signal integrity enabling more robust PCB designs and reducing sensitivities to cable, connector and layout variations. 

A Smart Hub is a USB hub that integrates system-level functions typically associated with a separate MCU or processor. Microchip’s new USB3.0 Smart Hubs enable the upstream host controller to communicate to numerous types of external peripherals beyond the USB connection through direct bridging from USB to I2C, SPI, UART and GPIO interfaces. This integrated functionality can greatly reduce the complexity of system design by eliminating the need for an additional external microcontroller, while providing improved control from the USB host hardware.

Microchip’s patented FlexConnect technology provides the USB5734 Smart Hub with the unique ability to dynamically swap between a USB host and a USB device through hardware and/or software system commands giving the new USB host access to downstream resources.

This same FlexConnect technology can also switch common downstream resources between two different USB hosts.  Incorporating FlexConnect into a system simplifies the overall software requirements of the primary host, as class drivers and application software stay local to the Device-turned-Host.  

System developers can easily configure ports and choose application settings with low-cost resistor bootstraps. If more advanced functionality is required, the USB5734/44 can be configured and programmed with Microchip’s configuration tool, ProTouch2.

The USB5734 and USB5744 USB3.0 controller hubs serve a wide range of applications in the computing, embedded, medical, industrial and networking markets. Examples of end applications include HDTV, tablets, notebooks, eReaders, cameras, docking stations, monitors, handheld devices, point-of-sale equipment, ATMs, set-top boxes, break-out boxes and motion sensors, among others. Available in a 56-pin, 7 x 7mm package, the USB5744 is one of the industry’s smallest USB3.0 Hub for applications where board space is important.

The USB5734 and USB5744 are supported by Microchip’s USB 3.0 Controller Hub Evaluation Board (EVB-USB5734) priced at $399.00, and USB 3.0 Small Form Factor Controller Hub Evaluation Board (EVB-USB5744) priced at $299.00, which are available today. The EVB-USB5734 includes mezzanine cards that can be used as preset application configurations for easy testing and development of a USB5734 system.  

The USB5734 is available today for sampling and volume production in a 64-pin QFN (9 x 9 mm) package. The USB5744 is available today for sampling and volume production in a 56-pin QFN (7 x 7 mm) package.


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