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International Journal of Advanced Engineering Research and Technology (IJAERT) 15

Volume 4 Issue 2, February 2016, ISSN No.: 2348 8190

USB 3.0 Speed Supperformance On External Devices

With Optimized Power Efficiency & Backwards Compatibility
Maneesh Kumar Pandey, IEEE Member, Neeraj Jain, Sudhanshu Mishra
Freescale Semiconductor India Private Limited, Noida, India

Article contents
Section I: A brief history of USB
Section II: Super Speed USB (USB3.0)
Section III: The Future opportunities and challenges
of Super Speed USB
Section IV: USB3.0 Phy Characterization

I. History
Intel formed the USB Implementers Forum (USB-IF) in
1995 with other industry players to support and
accelerate market and consumer adoption of USBcompliant peripherals. Today, the USB-IF has over 700
member companies worldwide, and the Board of
Directors is comprised of representatives from HewlettPackard, Intel Corporation, LSI Corporation, Microsoft
Corporation, NEC Corporation and ST-NXP Wireless.
USB IFis a non-profit corporation. It was formed to
provide a support organization and a forum for the
advancement and adoption of Universal Serial Bus
technologies. The Forum facilitates the development of
high-quality compatible USB peripherals (devices), and
promotes the benefits of USB products that have passed
compliance testing.
The USB connectors have been one of the greatest
success stories in the history of computing, with more
than 2 billion USB-connected devices sold to date. But in
an age of terabyte hard drives, the once-cool throughput

of 480 megabits per second that a USB 2.0 device can

realistically provide just doesn't cut it any longer.
The next advancement in ubiquitous technology is USB
3.0 that delivers over targeted 10x the speed of Hi-Speed
USB connections. The technology targets fast PC syncand-go transfer of applications, to meet the demands of
consumer electronics and mobile segments focused on
high density digital content and media
Intel again formed the USB 3.0 Promoter Group,
consisting of HP, Microsoft Corporation, NEC
Corporation, NXP Semiconductors and Texas
Revisions of USB specification:
Revision 1.0
Revision 1.1
Revision 2.0
Revision 3.0
Revision 3.1

January 15,
23, 1998
17, 2008

USB Speed Trends

Low Speed of 1.5 Mbit/s

& Full Speed of 12 Mbit/s
improved specification
High Speed of 480Mbit/s
Super Speed of 5Gbit/s
Super Speed+ of 10Gbit/s

USB 3.1 (10Gb/S)

USB 3.0 (5Gb/S)


USB 2.0 (480Mb/S)
USB 1.1 (12Mb/S)
USB 1.0 (1.5Mb/S)


Figure1: USB specification, speed & which year they are released

International Journal of Advanced Engineering Research and Technology (IJAERT) 16

Volume 4 Issue 2, February 2016, ISSN No.: 2348 8190

II. USB 3.0

Nearly a decade after USB 2.0 was first introduced; this
practically ubiquitous technology is poised for its first
major upgrade in years.
Solid operating-system drivers and mature chip sets
helped USB 2.0 evolve into a formidable and dominant
interconnection technology for attaching devices to
systems. However, in increasingly high-definition
worldwhere many households as well as businesses are
verging on the use of terabytes of data, the case for
greater bandwidth is clear.
Universal Serial Bus Revision 3.0 Specification is
available from USB-IF which provides the technical
details to understand USB 3.0 requirements and to design
USB 3.0 compatible products. One can see the till date
progress details of USB 3.0:
The USB 3.0 Specification released on
November 12, 2008
USB 3.0 Adopters Agreement
New Addition of Link Command LDN
Engineering Change Notice as of April 4, 2009
USB 3.0 Standard-B and Standard-B Crosstalk
Engineering Change Notice as of April 4, 2009
USB-IF, the forum that maintains the USB standard went
ahead and called USB 3.0 as Super-Speed USB on the
similar lines where it called USB 2.0 as High Speed.
Features& Present Status of Super-Speed USB:
USB continues to be the answer to connectivity for PC,
Consumer Electronics, and Mobile architectures. It is a
fast, bidirectional, low-cost, dynamically attachable
interface that is consistent with the requirements of the
PC platforms of today and tomorrow.
As technology innovation marches forward, new kinds of
devices, media formats, and large inexpensive storage are
converging. They require significantly more bus
bandwidth to maintain the interactive experience users
expect. In addition, user applications demand a higher
performance connection between the PC and these
increasingly sophisticates peripherals. Super-Speed USB
addresses this need by adding an even higher transfer rate
to match these new usage and devices.
Super-Speed USB brings significant performance
enhancements to the ubiquitous USB standard, while
remaining compatible with the billions of USB 2.0
enabled devices currently deployed in the market. SuperSpeed USB will deliver the data transfer rate 10 times of
Hi-Speed USB, as well as improved power efficiency.
Super-Speed USB is a Sync-N-Go technology
that minimizes user wait-time.

Super-Speed USB will provide optimized power

efficiency. It doesnt have device polling, lower
active and idle power requirements. U0 through
U3 link power management states are defined.
Super Speed Transfer Rate of 5 Gbit/s.
Electrically, this is more similar to PCIe Gen2
and SATA than USB 2.0.
USB 3.0 uses two unidirectional data paths: one
to receive data and the other to transmit.
Improved bus utilization a new feature is added
(using packets NRDY and ERDY) to let a device
asynchronously notify the host of its readiness
(no need of polling)
Support to rotating media Bulk protocol is
updated with a new feature called Stream
Protocol that allows a large number of logical
streams within an Endpoint

According to the Super-Speed USB specification, USB

2.0 cables and devices will also work with USB 3.0, as
USB 3.0 is backward compatible. The cable, the host
device (for example, the PC), and the peripheral device
all must be USB 3.0 capable to achieve the 3.0 speeds;
otherwise, the connector drops down to the lowest
common denominator, USB 2.0 speeds.


Figure2: USB 3.0 systems can manage all four data

rates concurrently
Promoter group of Super-Speed USB started eXtensible
Host Controller Interface (XHCI) that draft specification
for USB Revision 3.0. The XHCI drafted specification
describes the register-level host controller interface for
Universal Serial Bus (USB) Revision 2.0 and above. The
hardware/software interface between system software
and the host controller hardware. This specification is
intended for hardware component designers, system
builders and device driver (software) developers.


International Journal of Advanced Engineering Research and Technology (IJAERT) 17

Volume 4 Issue 2, February 2016, ISSN No.: 2348 8190

III. The Future challenges of Super-Speed USB

Super-Speed USB will have to challenge External Serial
ATA (eSATA) as a connector on storage devices. SuperSpeed USB's future is expected to go beyond storage.
SATA is intended for storage only, whereas Super-Speed
USB willbecome dominant in consumer electronics
devices down the time. For USB History is a good
indication of its future results as 2.7 billion USB ports
was shipped in 2007.The port of Super-Speed USB can
more efficiently handle power as compared to HighSpeed USB and definitely this is an appeal of SuperSpeed USB over USB2.0 for consumer electronics. In
Super-Speed USB, the power budget (power
optimization) is up by 1.5 times that of USB 2.0. SuperSpeed USB will have a wider appeal to consumer
electronics in that it offers greater flexibility in powering
[devices]. The Super-Speed USB has improvedpin
configuration which could allow for a device to charge
There are still some challenges to be had: Dual-USB or
eSATA. eSATA does not include power but if we
piggyback eSATA into a combo USB/eSATA port, as
some notebooks are showing now, we can use USB
power pins and eSATA data pins.
Meanwhile, a host of competing high-speed plugs like
Display Port, eSATA and HDMI have become a
commonplace on PCs. These are driven largely by the
onset of high definition video. Even FireWire is looking
at an imminent upgrade of up to 3.2 Gbps performance.
The port proliferation may make for a baffling landscape
on the back of a new PC, but one will at least have plenty
of high-performance options for hooking up peripherals.
Some of Challenges are listed here.
USB 3.0 host implementation is the new host
controller. The new host controller, the
eXtensible Host Controller Interface (xHCI) is
a complete re-architecture of the USB host
controller interface paradigm.
Higher bandwidth requires more host computing
Shorter cable lengths
Maturing interface technology
Radio frequency issue: As the frequency of USB
3.0 and that of Wireless Bluetooth fall in same
region, this may cause interference and results in
drop in throughput.
Speed issues: There have been many reports of
USB 3.0 equipment only transferring data at
USB 2.0 speed, usually with a message "This
USB Mass Storage Device can transfer

information faster if you connect it to a SuperSpeed USB 3.0 port" on Microsoft Windows.
This has been attributed to several causes,
including drivers, certain cables specified as
USB 3.0 (problems disappeared when a different
cable was used).
If you have a USB 3.0capable computer and want to
make sure your next MP3 player or digital camera can
transfer tunes or photos in millseconds, then there is one
answer that is Super-Speed USB.
Super speed USB3.0 promises 10GPS Data transfers,
coming in 2014:
The trade organization behind the USB 3.0 specification
has announced a new upgraded spec that promises higher
data speeds over backwards compatible connections.
To compete with Thunderbolt connectors USB 3.0 is
planning to speed up to 10 Gbps in near future.
Thunderbolt, which moves data at up to 10Gbps in both
directions, appears mostly on Apple devices currently,
but devices tend to be more expensive than their USB
3.0-compatible counterparts. However, Thunderbolt does
have a strong ally in Intel, with the company pushing the
standard heavily.
To take advantage of the double-speed USB 3.0 interface,
devices such as computers, hubs, and digital cameras will
need new USB controller hardware. However, the new
version of USB 3.0 uses the same connectors, so existing
USB devices can be plugged into the higher-speed ports.
The new devices should be backwards compatible with
older USB hardware, though not at the upgraded speeds.

IV. USB3.0 Phy Characterization

The USB3.1 supports up to 10GBPS data transfer rate
which require more emphasis on Test Setup for the
electrical characterization of Phy. Complete electrical
compliance testing will be further challenging due to high
data transfer rate. You also need to perform USB2.0
electrical compliance testing since USB3.1 is back word
compatible with USB2.0, which further increase the
challenge for the electrical Phy.
Transmitter Characterization is done separately where
main emphasis is on Jitter & Eye diagram. For this you
do not need to do any enumeration (which was required
in USB2.0), you need to have eight different dedicated
patterns (CP0 to CP8) & run them. At the o/p of
transmitter you need to sample the data & do a post
processing using SigTest software package.
Figure3 shows the basic transmitter characterization
setup. All measurements are done at test point.


International Journal of Advanced Engineering Research and Technology (IJAERT) 18

Volume 4 Issue 2, February 2016, ISSN No.: 2348 8190

With USB3.0







Figure3: Basic Transmitter Characterization Setup

Based on the sampled data this software package will
determine Tx parameters. Few critical parameters are
Differential Swing, Differential Impedance, Deemphasis, Deterministic Jitter, Random Jitter, Total Jitter
& Eye Height.
Receiver Characterization is done in a loop back mode
with a pattern generator with capability to modulate or
induce Jitter in the pattern. Hence Jitter tolerance is the


most important specification for a receiver. The main

parameters which need to characterize are Random Jitter,
Sinusoidal Jitter, Transition bit differential voltage swing
& Non transition bit voltage.
Before doing any measurements it is required to do a
receiver calibration which is also a challenging task.
Figure4 shows the basic transmitter characterization
setup. All measurements are done at test point.

(in Loopback)

Test Fixture
Test Points

USB cable

Figure4: Basic Receiver characterization Setup

[1] Melissa J. Perenson, PC World, USB 3.0 Promises
Faster Speeds, Backward CompatibilityJan 6, 2009.
[2] SMSC USB 3.0 Position paper By SMSC.

[3] Universal Serial Bus 3.0 Specification, Revision

0.85, April 04, 2008.
[4] Julie Govan, USB Uncovered Breakthroughs,
bottlenecks, and bits on the move, Sep 23, 2003.
[5] www.usb.org
[6] USB Design & TestApplication Note from Agilent