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USB 3.2 Gen 1 Cable Extender Reference Design

The USB 3.2 Gen 1 Cable Extender reference design integrates a reclocked/driver IC into a USB dongle, facilitating extended cable support.

USB3.2

A USB 3.2 Gen 1 Cable Extender is a vital tool designed to extend the reach of USB connections without sacrificing the signal integrity and high-speed performance inherent to USB 3.2 Gen 1 technology. With the ability to support data transfer rates of up to 5 Gbps and provide power over extended distances, these extenders are essential for settings where devices like cameras, printers, and storage units are far from the central computer or hub. They are particularly useful in environments such as professional audio-visual setups, digital signage, or large office configurations, ensuring operational efficiency and flexibility in device placement. The USB 3.2 Gen, 1 Cable Extender reference design from Microchip features the EQCO5X31 IC integrated into a compact USB dongle, which can be connected at both the host and device ends. 

The reclocker/driver IC is designed for USB 3.2 Gen 1 networks to enhance cable length and signal quality, supporting longer cables. The device incorporates three key functions. It includes an auto-adaptive equalizer at the receiver that automatically compensates for frequency-dependent losses in the cable, a Reclocker featuring a bit-level Clock Data Recovery that re-times the signal to eliminate accumulated jitter, and a Redriver that amplifies and transmits the cleaned-up signal onto a cable or PCB trace.

The outcome is a device that processes the signal at the Physical layer by equalizing cable losses at its input, reclocking, and then driving the signal out in both directions. The performance depends on the quality of the cable and connectors; the reclocked/driver IC can support up to 16 meters of passive cable. Testing indicates that the EV40G35A card can also handle between 8 to 10 meters of passive USB 3.2 Type-C cable.

The design offers several benefits, making it ideal for integration or modification into your existing setup. It extends the lengths of USB 3.2 Gen 1 cables and enhances the performance of USB 3.2 Gen 1 (5Gbps) by equalizing, reclocking, and redriving the signal in both directions. Additionally, it supports Type-C reversibility and the full VBUS voltage range, providing versatile and robust connectivity solutions.

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The board has two USB connectors: a Type-C plug and a Type-C receptacle. The plug connects directly to a device like a laptop, and the receptacle accepts a USB Type-C cable. It features two EQCO5X31 components that manage USB3 signals by reclocking and driving them across two lanes according to the USB Type-C specification. Typically, only one lane is active at a time, but the board can also support both lanes being active simultaneously. 

Microchip has tested this reference design. It comes with a bill of materials (BOM), schematics, assembly drawing, printed circuit board (PCB) layout, etc. You can find additional data about the reference design on the company’s website. To read more about this reference design, click here.

Nidhi Agarwal
Nidhi Agarwal
Nidhi Agarwal is a journalist at EFY. She is an Electronics and Communication Engineer with over five years of academic experience. Her expertise lies in working with development boards and IoT cloud. She enjoys writing as it enables her to share her knowledge and insights related to electronics, with like-minded techies.

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