USB4 connectivity and compatibility 

As USB Type-C connectors have become the default standard, with the USB4 specification the USB Implementers Forum (USB-IF) is delivering a single standard connection protocol. Designed to unite wired connections via USB Type-C connectors, it is offers compatibility with USB 3.2, USB 2.0, PCIe DisplayPort and Thunderbolt 3. However, ensuring effective protection of devices operating with different backward compatible protocols requires the optimised ESD protection offered by Nexperia’s TrEOS protection devices for super-speed lines.

Block diagram

Highlighted components are Nexperia focus products

Design considerations

  • 20 Gbps on one differential pair (super-speed)
  • Low insertion loss (signal attenuation) and low return loss (signal reflection) required along with low clamping to protect sensitive super-speed data lines
  • Need to protect AC-coupling for the receiver inputs (Rx) which are mandatory on USB4
  • Different protocols have different operating voltages

ESD Design Engineer’s Guide

Download Nexperia’s ESD Design Engineer’s Guide and get a better understanding of ESD protection topologies and failure symptoms as well as testing and simulation for modern interfaces


Choosing ESD protection devices for USB4

The new USB4TM specification introduced some changes, which have consequences for the selection of ESD protection components. Obviously, ESD protection needs to add low insertion loss (signal attenuation) and low return loss (signal reflection) to the system while offering low clamping to protect sensitive high-speed data lines. However, comparing the USB4 and USB 3.2 specifications, we came across a point which might be easily overlooked – operation voltage.