IC Interfaces Information

Integrated Circuit InterfaceIntegrated circuit (IC) interfaces are semiconductor chips that are used to control and manage the sharing of information between devices.


IC interfaces support many different types of serial and wireless technologies.

  • Serial technologies for IC interfaces include RS232, RS422, and RS485; serial 1-wire, serial 2-wire, and serial 3-wire; controller area network bus (CANbus); serial peripheral interface (SPI); system management bus (SMBus); universal serial bus (USB); and USB on-the-go (USB OTG) or USB 2.0.
  • Wireless technologies for IC interfaces include code division multiple access (CDMA), wide band code division multiple access (WCDMA), wireless fidelity (Wi-Fi) or IEEE 802.11, worldwide interoperability for microwave access (WiMAX) or IEEE 802.16, wireless mesh (Wi-Mesh), and ZigBee or IEEE 802.15.4. Bluetooth chips also provide wireless connectivity in solution-on-chip (SoC) platforms that power short-range radio communication applications.
  • Wireless IC interfaces are also described as using 3G or 4G technologies.
  • 3G (third generation) technologies for IC interfaces include universal mobile telecommunications system (UMTS), enhanced data rates for global evolution (EDGE), and global system for global communication (GSM).
  • 4G (fourth generation) products are based solely on packet switching, whereas 3G is based on a combination of circuit and packet switching.

IC interfaces also support other communications technologies. Choices include current mode logic (CML), gunning transceiver logic (GTL), and gunning transceiver logic plus (GTLP); emitter coupling logic (ECL), positive ECL (PECL), and low-voltage PECL (LVPEC); low-voltage differential signaling (LVDS), bus LVDS (BLVDS), and multi-point LVDS (M-LVDS); digital visual interface (DVI) and high-definition media interface (HDMI); and digital subscriber line (DSL) and integrated services digital network (ISDN).


In addition, IC interfaces may also use technologies such as:

  • actuator-sensor interface (AS-i)
  • Ethernet
  • fiber channel
  • IEEE 1394 or FireWire® (Apple Computer)
  • Microwire or PanelBus
  • high-speed downlink packet access (HSDPA)
  • inter-integrated circuit (I2C)
  • infrared data access (IrDA)
  • global positioning system (GPS)
  • general packet radio service (GPRS)
  • low-voltage CMOS (LVCMOS)
  • synchronous optical network (SONET)
  • subscriber identification modules (SIM)
  • small computer systems interface (SCSI)
  • VersaModule Eurocard bus (VMEbus)

Peripheral component interconnect (PCI), compact PCI (cPCI), and PCI Express (PCIe) IC interfaces are also available.


Performance specifications for IC interfaces include supply voltage, data rate, operating current, power dissipation, and temperature junction. Many different IC package types are available. Examples include ball-grid array (BGA), chip-scale package (CSP), quad flat package (QFP), small outline package (SOP), and dual in-line package (DIP).

IC interfaces that are designed for the European marketplace must comply with the Restriction of Hazardous Substances (RoHS) directive from the European Union (EU). Some IC interfaces have an integrated charge pump or joint test action group (JTAG) pin. Others provide protection against electrostatic discharge (ESD), high temperatures, or over-voltage conditions.


IC interfaces differ in terms of device types and applications. Some products are used with buffers, CardBus controllers, codecs, crosspoint switches, framers, front-ends, isolators, internet protocol (IP) cores, or level translators. Others are used with liquid crystal display (LCD) drivers, light emitting diode (LED) drivers, line or bus controllers, line or bus drivers, link layer controllers, or media access controllers (MAC). IC interfaces for PCI bridges, PCIe bridges, port or bus expanders, and physical layer controllers (Phy controllers) are also available.

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