Feeds

Inside USB 3.0

What makes SuperSpeed tick

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

NEC last week announced what it claims is the world's first host controller chip for USB 3.0 - aka SuperSpeed USB because of its 5Gb/s peak data-transfer rate.

Since the Universal Serial Bus isn't a peer-to-peer system - unlike Firewire, for instance - NEC's chip isn't enough to allow manufacturers to offer USB 3.0 peripherals yet, but once the part ships - it's due next month - they will be able to prepare SuperSpeed PC designs.

USB 3.0 SuperSpeed

NEC reckons that after releasing small, 'sample' quantities of the chip in June, it'll ramp up production to significantly larger volumes in Q3, allowing computer makers to take those designs and put them on shop shelves. There may not be many - or even any - SuperSpeed peripherals to hook up to these machines.

Whether you dive in to USB 3.0 as soon as you can or wait until there are plenty of devices out there than can take advantage of it, the move from USB 2.0 to USB 3.0 should be as smooth as upgrading from USB 1.1 was.

But USB 3.0 is something of a departure from 2.0 from both technical and practical standpoints, and while the minds behind the new standard have made backward compatibility a cornerstone of their development efforts, USB 3.0 is not simply a higher-clocked USB 2.0.

USB 3.0's raison d'etre is to up data-transfer rates to ten times what USB 2.0 can manage, jumping from 480Mb/s to 5Gb/s, needed now we're throwing HD video files around. Error handling and the needs of the data-transfer protocol will reduce that some, just as it does with 2.0, but the new bus nonetheless justifies its 'SuperSpeed' moniker.

USB 3.0 SuperSpeed

What goes into USB 3.0

Achieving that data rate has required some hardware changes. Skinny, unshielded cabling that's fine for USB 2.0 is out, replaced by shielded, multi-core wires-within-wires - Shielded Differential Pair, or SDP - cables, which will be thicker than those we're used to. Shielding is needed to cut out the electromagnetic interference that reduce the signal integrity and prevent the bus from achieving that 5Gb/s throughput. You simply can't do SuperSpeed over USB 2.0 cabling.

Adaptive equalisation circuitry in each device helps it all along. AE allows the state of the connection to be measured and the electrical signal altered to optimise data delivery over that particular physical connection, compensating for differing lengths of cable and different quality wiring.

Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile

More from The Register

next story
Chipmaker FTDI bricking counterfeit kit
USB-serial imitators whacked by driver update
Xperia Z3: Crikey, Sony – ANOTHER flagship phondleslab?
The Fourth Amendment... and it IS better
DOUBLE BONK: Testy fanbois catch Apple Pay picking pockets
Users wail as tapcash transactions are duplicated
Microsoft to enter the STRUGGLE of the HUMAN WRIST
It's not just a thumb war, it's total digit war
Google Glassholes are UNDATEABLE – HP exec
You need an emotional connection, says touchy-feely MD... We can do that
FTDI yanks chip-bricking driver from Windows Update, vows to fight on
Next driver to battle fake chips with 'non-invasive' methods
prev story

Whitepapers

Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
New hybrid storage solutions
Tackling data challenges through emerging hybrid storage solutions that enable optimum database performance whilst managing costs and increasingly large data stores.