USB 3.0 – The Next-Generation Interconnect

Have you ever had a moment when you were frustrated by technology that was not fast enough? Let’s look at a scenario that could happen: your flight from San Francisco to New York is scheduled to depart in three hours. You are ready to go towards the airport. However, you really need to catch up with the new season of your favorite series “House” that you haven’t seen. A friend recently sent you an update via Facebook about how they enjoyed a blockbuster film that he watched last night , and you would like to watch it on the long flight you are about to get on. If I were you I’d be thinking “if only I had the time to download all the content that I require right now”. In the present, it takes approximately 14 minutes to transfer an HD movie that is 25GB in size and nearly nine minutes for transferring a television Show with 16GB of data from a PC to your hand held media device. Thanks to technological advances, technology is taking place at a rate that enables users to get their desired content a lot faster. One of these developments is the one that uses the most universal and ubiquitous interface known to man – USB. USB 3.0 SuperSpeed is here and is expected to be the solution to these situations.

The history of USB
In the age of the technological advancement and the internet huge amounts of content is being created as well as consumed and processed at a the rate of a whirlwind; in parallel, mass storage technologies are being transformed in a significant way. Storage is becoming affordable and density is increasing and driving sharing of content. People no longer have to worry about conserving storage space on their hard drives. The life of a photographer is considerably easier thanks to multiple storage cards, allowing users to click to take as many images and swap cards out when full. Visit:-

These types of models are becoming more and more popular not only in the enterprise as well as professional settings as well as in the world of consumers. Cameras and still cameras are moving towards higher resolution and superior quality images, which is creating the need for faster interconnect that can consume the content. This is so urgent the need for a faster connection that several technology leaders have joined forces to address this issue in a stylish and seamless way. In the end, USB Implementers Forum recognized this urgent need for the next-generation interconnect technology and officially ratified the USB 3.0 specification in November of 2008.

Comparison with other Interfaces
Many other serial communication standards have a speed similar to the one for USB 3.0. For instance, PCIe Gen 2.0 has 5Gbps data rate in addition to Serial ATA (SATA) III is a speed of 6Gbps.

Although it is true that the USB 3.0 PHY architecture has its roots from PCIe, several significant distinctions emerge. The USB 3.0 PHY has to implement an equalizer to compensate for cable loss. This allows USB cables to reach a length of three meters. The PCIe or SATA PHYs do not have this kind of equalizer. The LFPS feature described earlier is distinct to this USB 3.0 PHY.

A PCIe link could comprise of more than one lane (i.e. pairs of transmit and differential lines) to increase the bandwidth, whereas USB 3.0 USB 3.0 link is limited to a single lane. Of these three interfaces, plug and play can be enabled only by USB. The SATA standard does support hot-plug, but contingent of the SATA controller being using Advanced Host Controller Interface (AHCI) mode.

PCIe is generally utilized to link peripheral functions card (such like graphic card) directly to the motherboard of a PC.SATA is the interface of preference for large storage devices like hard disk drives and optical drives; hence most PCs incorporate the SATA host adapter. USB however is a general-purpose SuperSpeed Bridge, also known as Hi-Speed between a host and virtually any interface.

USB 3.0 can also be used to be an alternative interface for transferring video given the higher bandwidth. It could lead to some exciting applications in the digital living room – including television, STB, monitors or gaming consoles. One of the main advantages of USB over video interfaces such as VGA, DVI,DisplayPort and HDMI is the ubiquity of the interface. With HDCP 2.0 with USB for one interface the protection of content can also be enabled by USB 3.0. Another advantage is that USB is royalty free.

USB Charging
Charging is a major feature that stands out when it comes to comparing USB against other interfaces. USB is currently the charging preferred interface in many countries. Charging via USB has its own advantages when compared to having discrete chargers that are compatible with every device. Not only does it lower production costs due to the limitation of chargers that are specific to a specific vendor, but can also have a significant impact on the environment in the long run.USB 3.0 hubs and hosts permit battery charging that are defined in the USB Battery Charging Specification.

The USB Battery Charging Specification currently defines three types of charging methods –

1. Host Charger – A host charger is a USB 2.0 host that supplies up to 500mA to a downstream port and implements charger detection. Hi-Speed devices can draw up to 900mA from a host charger.

2. Hub Charger Hub Charger a USB 2.0 hub which supplies up to 500mA of power to downstream ports and is able to support charging detection. The charging capabilities are similar to that of a host charger.

3. Dedicated Charger : A dedicated charger can provide power via USB interface, but it does not enumerate the device. The charging power is restricted to 1.5A.The specification also allows for dead battery charging, allowing batteries that are dead or extremely fragile battery to be able to pull up to 100mA from a hub host until it is charged to an acceptable threshold. The advantage of being able to charge over USB is that it can be utilized in USB 3.0 devices.

USB 3.0 is anticipated to be the most widely used solution for many bandwidth hungry applications. Its evolution from the highly effective USB 2.0 is fueled by the increasing demands for multimedia as well as higher density storage technologies. USB 3.0 is certainly a technology that will be a trigger in the hype-cycle and must demonstrate that it will be able to get past the peak of inflated expectations leading into the mass market adoption. It’s getting close to the time where you can access everything you need before you head to the airport in less than an hour.