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SMSC Introduces First USB Sharing Hub

To date, manufacturers of PCs, consumer electronics and even industrial systems products have taken advantage of the connectivity provided by the industry standard Universal Serial Bus (USB). But consumers wanting to share those connected peripheral devices between two discrete platforms have had to resort to using networking solutions or cables they had to unplug and re-attach, as well as installing software. With SMSC's USB MultiSwitch Hub, USB devices can now be shared easily and inexpensively.

The USB MultiSwitch (part number USB2524) allows users to connect and share USB peripherals between two discrete platforms. The following are but a few of the examples demonstrating the range and versatility of device sharing that SMSCís USB MultiSwitch makes possible:

  • A laptop can share all the devices connected to a desktop system
  • A game console can share all the devices of a Macintosh or Windows PC
  • A set-top box and digital television can share devices within an entertainment center.
  • Embedded systems can shift internal USB devices between different Systems-on-Chips (SOCs)

To take a common example, a user brings a laptop home and connects to a wired or wireless hub enabled by the USB MultiSwitch. The user can then selectively share the printer, an MP3 device and scanner, or any USB peripheral device connected to the hub between a laptop and desktop system without the need for software, configuring or rebooting, thanks to the USB MultiSwitch.

The SMSC 4-port USB MultiSwitch acts as two independently controllable USB2.0 hubs in a single package with the ability to electronically reassign and reconfigure any of its four downstream ports to either of its two upstream USB ports. This allows two USB hosts to share peripherals and to dynamically reconfigure them. Users can switch a peripheral from one host to the other on-the-fly and the peripheral will automatically detach from one host and attach to the other.

Any configuration of the downstream ports is possible except simultaneous connection to both upstream ports. The SMSC 4-Port USB MultiSwitch is fully compliant with the USB2.0 Specification and will attach to either or both upstream USB hosts as a Full-Speed or Full/Hi-Speed Hub. The four downstream hub ports support Low-Speed, Full-Speed and Hi-Speed (if operating as a Hi-Speed hub) downstream devices on all of the enabled downstream ports.

Key features:

  • USB 2.0 compatible hub with two upstream host port connections.
  • Electronic configuration and port assignment via three switching modes.
  • Allows two USB hosts to share devices and dynamically assign host ownership.
  • Multiple LED modes to help maximize design flexibility.
  • Enhanced configuration options available through serial I2C EEPROM or SMBus slave port.
  • On-board 24MHz crystal driver.
  • Internal PLL for 480MHz USB 2.0 sampling.
  • Internal 1.8V linear voltage regulator.
  • Integrated USB termination with pull-up and pull-down resistors.
  • Internal short circuit protection on USB differential signal pins.

Samples of the USB MultiSwitch are available now with production quantities available in third quarter of 2006. Pricing will be $3.75 per unit (U.S. list price) in OEM quantities.

Source: SMSC

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