Microchip's Smart Hub with FlexConnect Broadens Application Space of USB3.0 Hubs

CHANDLER, AZ -- Microchip Technology Inc. unveils the first USB3.0 Smart Hub that enables host and device port swapping, I/O bridging, and various 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 additional external microcontroller, while providing improved control from the USB host hardware.

Microchip's patented FlexConnect technology provides the USB5734 Smart Hub 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, motion sensors, among others. Available 56-pin, 7 x 7 mm package, the USB5744 is the industry's smallest USB3.0 Hub for applications where board space is important.

"Microchip's new Smart Hubs build on three generations of successful USB3.0 hubs, integrating more advanced functionality through additional communication interfaces, while our unique FlexConnect technology adds host port swapping and switching," said Mitch Obolsky, vice president of Microchip's USB and Networking Group. "The USB5734 and USB5744 simplify system design, reduce board area, are USB-IF logo certified and deliver Microchip's proven USB hub interoperability."

Development Support

The USB5734 and USB5744 are supported by Microchip's USB 3.0 Controller Hub Evaluation Board (part # EVB-USB5734, $399.00) and USB 3.0 Small Form Factor Controller Hub Evaluation Board (part # EVB-USB5744, $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.

Pricing & Availability

The USB5734 is available today for sampling and volume production in 64-pin QFN (9 x 9 mm) packages, starting at $4.20 each in 10,000-unit quantities. The USB5744 is available today for sampling and volume production in 56-pin QFN (7 x 7 mm) packages, starting at $3.75 each in 10,000-unit quantities.

For additional information, visit:
http://www.microchip.com/USB5734-Page-060215a
http://www.microchip.com/Block-Diagram-060215a

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