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Nov 21, 2011

SMSC LAN9730 Converts USB 2.0 into 10/100 Ethernet

USB and Ethernet are two different connectivity technologies, used for distinct applications, but it so happens that SMSC decided it was time the latter enjoyed the power efficiency benefits of the former.

SMSC just issued an announcement in which it reveals the LAN9730, a fully-integrated Hi-Speed Inter-Chip (HSIC) USB 2.0 to-10/100 Ethernet device.

HSIC is based on the company's patented Inter-Chip Connectivity (ICC) technology and allows the USB protocol to be delivered over short distances via LAN while still retaining software compatibility with analog USB 2.0.

The primary advantage of this so-called industry's first item is that any device requiring an Ethernet port will consume considerably less power.

“Performance, flexibility in design and power savings are all critical design elements inherent in SMSC’s line of networking solutions,” said Rolf Mahler, vice president and general manager of SMSC’s Networking Solutions group.

“For embedded and consumer applications, this device can leverage our patented ICC technology to reduce power consumption and silicon area compared to a standard analog USB 2.0 interface.”

LAN9730 has an integrated 10/100 physical layer and more than one power management enhancement, like Magic Packet and Link Status Change and Wake on LAN.

It measures 8 x 8 millimeters and has a 56-pin QFN package. It also has a completely lead-free construction and features RoHS compliance.

In other words, it is green not just because of its low power requirements, but also because it uses few hazardous or otherwise environment-unfriendly materials.

Mass production will only start at the end of January, 2012, but qualification samples and evaluation kits exist already.

Routing and placement of network connections anywhere in a developer's system should be more flexible when setting up. Finally, the cost advantage is owed to the use of a single 25 MHz crystal that drives both the USB and Ethernet PHYs reduces developer BOM cost).


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