Can someone explain me the difference between USB and ULPI? I know they are closely related but how they are related that not clear to me.

First time I came to know when I was looking at this board (See at the bottom middle): Xilinx Zynq-7000 All Programmable SoC ZC702 Evaluation Kit

enter image description here


USB defines the external interface (physical, electrical, various layers of signalling).

The PHY (physical interface circuitry) that presents USB interfaces also has to interface to the host computer. This is done using a UTMI interface

ULPI is a lower pin-count version of that internal interface. This is beneficial for smaller and lower-cost devices.

Announced on March 1, 2004, the ULPI specification provides a low-pin, low-cost, small form-factor transceiver interface for any USB application


ULPI was developed by a group of USB industry leaders to address the need for low-cost USB and OTG PHYs. Existing specifications including UTMI and UTMI+ were developed primarily for Macrocell (IP) development, and are not optimized for use as an external PHY. Using the existing UTMI+ specification as a starting point, the ULPI working group reduced the number of interface signals to 12 pins, with an optional implementation of 8 pins. The package size of PHY and Link IC’s are drastically reduced. This not only lowers the cost of Link and PHY IC’s, but also makes for a smaller PCB.

See http://www.ulpi.org/

  • \$\begingroup\$ The ULPI site appears to be gone/moved/broken. \$\endgroup\$ – iX3 Feb 1 '16 at 20:01
  • \$\begingroup\$ @iX3: OK, I've put a link to the internet archive's copy. \$\endgroup\$ – RedGrittyBrick Feb 1 '16 at 23:28

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.