Topics / Networks and Data Transmission / Universal Serial Bus (USB)

Universal Serial Bus (USB)

USB CableUniversal Serial Bus (USB) is a type of cable and connector commonly used for half-duplex or full-duplex serial data transmission between a computer and attached devices.

A USB cable consists of a shielded casing containing four wires.  Two wires are used for power and earth, and the other two wires are used for data transmission.

Typical cables can reach up to 5 metres.

There are many benefits to using USB cables:

  1. USB is widely used and available on most computers and connected devices.  When buying a new device, we just assume that it will connect via USB, safely knowing that our computer will have the appropriate ports to make that connection
  2. Devices connected by USB are automatically detected by the computer (and device drivers loaded if available)
  3. USB cables can’t be connected incorrectly (unless you apply some serious force!)
  4. Various different transmission speeds are supported, ranging from the slow and dated USB 1.0 (1.5 Mbps) through to the very fast present day USB 4 (40 Gbps)
  5. No need for an external power supply for your small device.  USB cables carry power and data
  6. Hubs allow additional ports to be created
  7. USB is backward compatible.  However you will only benefit from the faster speeds if both devices support it

USB-C connectors are growing in adoption.  These are beneficial because:

  • They provide USB data transmission, but usually at the higher rates (10 Gbps+)
  • Can be connected both ways up (there is no correct orientation)
  • USB-C can carry much more power, allowing larger devices to be powered without external power sources
  • They are generally more robust
Topics / Networks and Data Transmission / Universal Serial Bus (USB)

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