UltraSoC has added the ability to employ a USB 2.0 port instead of JTAG as the main debug access point on SoCs that use the company’s UltraDebug technology.
The USB access is organized so that debug and instrumentation can happen in parallel to other data transfers across USB. Future developments will support other standard interfaces, such as Ethernet or PCIe.
By configuring debug access across USB, SoC designers can cut package costs by removing dedicated JTAG pins. The USB port also offers potentially higher-speed transfers of trace and debug data. As the interface remains accessible even once the chip has been assembled into an end product and shipped to the customer. This allows system designers to analyze problems and fine-tune the performance of a product such as a smartphone or a hard disk drive throughout its useful lifetime.
The UltraDebug controller is delivered as silicon IP for integration into the chip design. The USB connectivity feature is backed with security features such as challenge/response capability, cryptographic protection and the ability to completely disable the debug facility.
“We’re now able to offer levels of connectivity that befit the advanced features of UltraDebug,” said UltraSoC CEO Rupert Baines. “And USB is just the beginning. In a world of 50 billion connected devices, being able to remotely optimize an embedded system is a very powerful capability. We can apply this technology via any communications interface: if your SoC has Ethernet, you can use that for debug; if it’s PCIe, that’s possible too. We’ll be saying more about those capabilities soon.”