Everything you need to know about the MIPI-DSI Interface

Everything you need to know about the MIPI-DSI Interface

Jan 3rd 2023

Smartphones, tablets, smartwatches, and other embedded display applications all take advantage of the high-speed MIPI DSI interface. The Display Serial Interface, or DSI, is a serial communication protocol created by the Mobile Industry Processor Interface Alliance (MIPI). Low EMI, excellent performance, and low power data transfer are all features of MIPI DSI. Additionally, the interface standard reduces the number of pins to lessen design complexity while retaining vendor compatibility.

MIPI has two layers of communication. Low-level communication is handled at the interface layer, and high-level communication is handled at the packet layer. Both can function in interface-level low-speed or high-speed modes. There are packet and interface levels.

While the interface level shows the display's speed and power settings, the packet level comes to play a role when sending image data to the DSI display in either short 4-byte or large (6–64.451-byte) packets. Each packet type includes information about the data, size, and error connection. It is best to send commands without any visual data in small packets. On the other hand, long commands are ideal for sending commands with multiple data bytes, such as an image stream.

There are two separate operating modes for the MIPI DSI communication protocol - video mode and command mode. Video mode must be used by a display controller without internal memory. It only functions in high-speed mode and provides a constant stream of data from the processor to the display. When in video mode, the processor sends data to the interface display as live pixel streams (with continuous refreshing). In command mode, orders are sent to recognized display registers.

Additionally, it can use short or long packets and run at high or low speed. The command mode can only be used on screens that have RAM for the frame buffer since it needs display registers. Due to the fact that registers or display memory only need two bytes of data, it often operates by transmitting brief packets.

High-level graphics are a benefit of MIPI DSI displays, which also feature less complicated signal routing, PCB designs, and higher hardware costs. The MIPI interface transmits data at high frequencies up to 1Gb/s via low voltage differential signaling. Low voltage signaling is used for communication, which has the advantage of low power consumption. The MIPI DSI protocol enables designers to combine high-speed, low-power, and low-EMI displays through an effective interface. To prolong battery life, the MIPI DSI interface may operate at extremely low power levels. Due to the fact that equal amounts of positive and negative data and clock lanes are used for signaling, these displays also emit extremely little electromagnetic interference. To further lessen interference on auxiliary devices, this interface can be used at a variety of data transmission rates. Because it offers high resolutions and color depths without increasing the number of necessary data lines, MIPI is a well-liked option in the display sector. The simplicity of connectivity, which lowers system complexity and overall cost, benefits display applications.

There are many commonly used examples of the MIPI DSI interface being used in consumer devices such as VR headsets, video game consoles, tablets, and mobile phones; this is unsurprising given there are a lot of advantages to this standard, such as affordability, simplistic pin layouts, low EMI and power consumption. We appreciate your interest and look forward to working with you on answering your questions and completing your project.