I Know How It Works USB

This is the second post written consecutively regarding USB drives within a short period of time (read the previous article Should you pull out your USB or eject?). The previous post was viewed and highlighted by many readers. I decided to write again about USB and this time it is about the speeds and the technology behind it. I hope this will help everyone to understand and benefit in their day to day life in the home, school or at work.

Universal Serial Bus (USB) is the communication protocol used between computers and electronic devices to communicate with each other. The initial usage of USB did not support high-speed data transmission but was intended to use with slower devices like mouse, keyboard, game consoles, etc.

The evolution of USB devices can be noticed in parallel to its demand by various devices evolved in the market. Nowadays devices like tablets, smart-phones, game consoles, camera, scanner, etc and many more devices are connected through USB, allowing communication and recharging more convenient and faster.

The evolution of USB technology with time and speed.

USB StandardData Transfer speedKnown As
USB 1.112 MbpsFull Speed
USB 2.0480 MbpsHi Speed
USB 3.05 GbpsUSB 3.0 or SuperSpeed
USB 3.1 Gen 15 GbpsUSB 3.1 Gen 1 or Super Speed
USB 3.1 Gen 210 GbpsSuper Speed+ or Super Speed 10

Evolution in detail – facts and figures

USB 1.0

  • Speed – 1.5 Mbps (Megabits per second) as a low-speed device and 12 Mbps (Megabits per second) as a full-speed device.

USB 2.0

  • High Speed (HS) – 480 Mbps (Megabits per second)
  • Half duplex – can either send or receive data
  • Power usage -Up to 500 mA

USB 3.0

  • Super Speed (SS) – 4.8 Gbps (Gigabits per second)
  • Full duplex – can send/ receive data asynchronously
  • Power usage -Up to 900 mA, more power efficient (less power in idle state)
  • Can power more devices
  • Backward compatible – can be used with USB 2.0 devices at the speed of USB 2.0.

USB 3.1

  • Super Speed (SS) – 10 Gbps (Gigabits per second)
  • Can power any type of device
  • The c-type connector that plugs in without regard to orientation.
  • Improved bus utilization using NRDY & ERDY packets to let a device asynchronously notify the host, of its readiness to function.

USB Connector Standards

USB Type-AThis is found on virtually every desktop PC, laptop, TVs, game consoles and media players in use today. Although the USB 3.0 Type-A connectors hold more internal pins, the form factor is the same, therefore, it can operate in any Type-A port, even USB 1.1. data transfer, however, will be at the speed of the older generation.
USB Type-BThis is commonly used to connect printers and external hard drives to desktop computers. The Type-B port actually has two different configurations; one is specific to USB 1.1 and 2.0-speed protocols, and the other is for use with the USB 3.0 and later specifications.
USB Mini-BThis is mostly used by portable electronics such as digital cameras, MP3 players and certain mobile phones, and only with USB 1.1 and 2.0 speeds. There are two types of Mini-B connectors, i.e. four-pin and five-pin versions.
USB Micro-BThis has one configuration for USB 2.0 and a different configuration for USB 3.0 and later standards. This same standard is found on many popular models of Android smartphones and external hard disk drives.
USB Type-CThis is made to support devices with a smaller, thinner and lighter form factor. This is slim enough for a smartphone or tablet, yet robust enough for a desktop computer and has the advantage of a reversible plug orientation and cable direction, eliminating the guesswork about which direction the connection goes. That's a big relief, right?

Hope this post is helpful for you to gain an idea about the USB, the speeds and technology you need to choose before you buy your next USB.

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