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Unique Node Offers OEMs Design Flexibility, Enables Rapid Time-to-Market for USB-Compliant Products

Nov 17, 1997

November 17, 1997 - National Semiconductor Corporation® (NYSE:NSM) today announced the USBN9602, a standalone Universal Serial Bus (USB) node that offers original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) unmatched design flexibility in developing USB PC peripherals. Unlike most competitive offerings, National's USBN9602 is microcontroller independent; this allows OEMs to combine the node with their preferred application-specific chipset, enabling significant savings in design time and cost, and speeding time-to-market.

Noted Jim Cady, vice president and general manager of Diamond Multimedia's Communication Division, "Diamond Multimedia has established a reputation for being early to market with new communications technologies at affordable price points. National's microcontroller independence creates an opportunity to rapidly transition our award-winning communication technologies to USB while minimizing design costs."

Originally developed by a consortium of leading PC makers and now supported by virtually all PC and peripheral manufacturers, USB offers a number of key benefits: true plug-and-play capability (peripherals can be attached and detached from a port or device chain without requiring the user to power down and reboot his or her computer), connectivity to telecommunications devices (telephones, modems, etc.), simplification of I/O ports required for peripheral attachment, and increased port availability. As a result, a greater number of peripherals can be attached to a PC.

USBN9602 USB Node Characteristics
The USBN9602 is an integrated USB node controller that is fully compliant with the USB Specification Version 1.0. Integrated onto a single chip are the required USB transceiver with a 3.3V regulator, a media access controller, seven USB Endpoints with 264 bytes of FIFO, a versatile 8-bit parallel interface, a MICROWIRE/PLUS‘ interface and a clock generator. This combination of features provides the needed functionality for a wide variety of PC peripherals.

The seven FIFO Endpoints support all four USB modes: one bi-directional FIFO for the mandatory control EP0 and six FIFOs for an additional six uni-directional Endpoint pipes to support USB interrupt, bulk and isochronous data transfers. The 8-bit parallel interface supports address/data buses in multiplexed and non-multiplexed CPUs, as well as DMA in both modes. A programmable interrupt output scheme allows device configuration for different interrupt signaling requirements.

Applications for National's USB node include medium- to high-bandwidth peripherals such as 56K modems; high-end joysticks and input devices; flat-bed, sheet-feed and bar-code scanners; digital cameras and other advanced business and consumer products. When designed into these applications, the node will greatly simplify achieving USB compliance, helping reduce time to market for OEMs.

Noted Tom Jones, director of engineering for the Personal Systems Group at National, "We've worked hard to develop a product with superior price/performance value that will not only help accelerate acceptance of the USB standard but will simplify the design process for our customers, who have very tight market windows. With analysts predicting 100-percent USB adoption for the PC market by 1999, we believe the USBN9602 is perfectly positioned to meet these challenges."

Price and Availability
The USBN9602 USB Node is priced at $2.49 each in quantities of 1,000. Samples are available now, with volume production scheduled for the first quarter of 1998. A complete design kit to facilitate OEM product development will be available in December; the kit contains a development board, USB interface firmware, common class driver software, samples and documentation.

National Semiconductor Corporation, a Fortune 500 company, produces system-on-a-chip silicon solutions for the information highway, based on its leadership in analog and mixed-signal technologies. National is headquartered in Santa Clara, Calif., and focuses on the communications, personal systems and consumer markets. National has annual sales of approximately $2.5 billion and 12,700 employees worldwide. Additional company and product information is available on the World Wide Web at http://www.national.com.