The USB4 specification was officially released last September with the new standard promising speeds of up to 40 Gbps and up to 100 Watts power delivery over USB-C connectors.
MMCI is now offering a 2:1 USB4 switch, the first computer-controlled USB4 mux according to the company, that can control 1 or 2 products up to 20 Gbps. Model 3141 USB4 Switch is not designed for consumers, as there aren’t any USB4 devices around at this time, but for electronics designers, firmware and software developers to enable them to test & debug their USB4 implementations.
MCCI Model 3141 USB4 Switch key features and specifications:
- USB Specifications/Features
- Thunderbolt 3
- USB 3.2 gen2 (x2 and x1), gen 1 (x2 and x1)
- USB 2.0 high speed, full speed, and low speed
- USB Power Delivery
- VCONN-powered devices (up to 0.5A)
- Alternate modes like DisplayPort.
- 2:1 switch, connecting two USB Type-C receptacles to a single Type-C plug
- Transparent connection between SUT (System under Test) and DUT (Device under Test) when in the connected state.
- Impedance-controlled, low loss USB data path.
- USB4/Superspeed signals are switched by PI3DBS16212 diodes supporting up to 20Gbps
- Texas Instruments TUSB221 1:2 High-Speed USB Multiplexer/Switch for USB2.0 signals.
- Maxim Integrated’s MAX14589E analog switches for CC lines and SBU signals
- Handles up to 20V and 5A on VBUS
- AVR 32U4 CPU with open-source Arduino BSP and firmware.
- LED’s for connection indication, and for cable orientation on receptacles (normal or flipped).
- Controlled and powered via USB micro B connector.
- Dimensions – 31 x 31mm
Beside not supporting 40 Gbps, the device has some other limitations such as VCONN powered devices drawing up to 0.5 A of power only, and lack of support for automatic Type-C cable flipping.
A photo of the board shows it’s copyrighted by Microsoft Corporation, so I guess Microsoft may have commissioned MCCI for the design, and the USB4 switch can be tested with Windows Hardware Lab Kit (HLK) to ensure compatibility with your Windows (10) devices. The Model 3141 USB Switch is also controlled over the micro-USB port by a test control computer running Windows and the Microsoft MUTT ConnEx-C software package.
The company explains that long-run randomized switching on a USB Type-C port helps to expose bugs in the hardware-firmware-software stack on both hosts and devices, and can easily reproduce connect/reconnect event with the control program without having to physically manipulate cables.
MCCI Model 3141 USB4 switch can be purchased for $795, and more information may be found on the product page.
Jean-Luc started CNX Software in 2010 as a part-time endeavor, before quitting his job as a software engineering manager, and starting to write daily news, and reviews full time later in 2011.