New Industry Products

7-port USB-C Hub Controller with USB Power Delivery

July 08, 2018 by Paul Shepard

Cypress Semiconductor Corp. has claimed the industry’s first 7-port USB-C hub controller with USB Power Delivery (PD). The programmable EZ-USB® HX3PD hub controller simplifies USB-C dock system designs by integrating the functionality of five chips into one, lowering bill-of-materials (BOM) and reducing board size by as much as 50%. The highly-integrated controller is ideal for notebook and tablet docking stations, monitor docks and multi-function USB-C peripherals.

USB-C docks have been complex to design, requiring two USB hubs to support internal and external connections, a dedicated controller for every USB-C port that supports USB PD charging, along with a USB billboard and USB-C bridge controller to report operating status and connection failures.

The EZ-USB HX3PD hub controller drastically simplifies system design by integrating the functionality of these chips. Additionally, it reduces footprint with a 12-mm-by-12-mm package. The controller includes a 7-port, 10-Gbps USB 3.1 Gen 2 hub, two USB-C ports with USB PD 3.0 charging, and a dock management controller that supports USB Billboard functionality and secure firmware downloads.

The controller’s programmability enables designers to keep pace with changes to the USB-C and USB PD specifications and resolve interoperability issues. The controller also prevents degradation of USB signals by integrating a configurable USB PHY that improves signal quality to meet and exceed USB compliance requirements.

“Our new HX3PD hub solution brings 10-Gbps performance to our leading portfolio of USB hubs for docking solutions, which includes HX3 and HX3C,” said Ajay Srikrishna, vice president of Cypress’ Wired Connectivity Business Unit.

“The controller leverages our expertise in USB-C and USB Power Delivery to provide a highly-integrated solution, continuing our long track record of being first to market with USB-C solutions and extending our leadership in SuperSpeed USB,” Srikrishna added.

The USB Type-C and Power Delivery standards are gaining rapid support with top-tier electronics manufacturers by enabling slim industrial designs, easy-to-use connectors and cables, and the ability to transmit multiple protocols and deliver up to 100 Watts. The USB Type-C standard’s 2.4-mm-high connector plug is significantly smaller than the current 4.5-mm USB Standard-A connector.

The EZ-USB HX3PD hub controller family is currently sampling and is expected to be in production in the third quarter of 2018. HX3PD is available in a 192-ball BGA package. An evaluation board for Cypress' EZ-USB HX3PD chip is also available (pictured at the top of this article).