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USBs are the typical component that is the order of the day in a lot of minimally technological devices and in all the computers that exist today.

They are components that we have all used at some time, but perhaps we do not know exactly what they are, we have not stopped to think about how they work or we do not know what types exist today.

That is why today we are going to inform you about everything related to USB connections, in this way you will already know everything that surrounds this type of standard to link devices to the computer, some technological device or simply to charge its battery.

Let’s stop preambles and let’s get into the matter, explaining everything related to this type of connections.

USB connection standards, connector types and differences:

What is USB and what exactly does it mean?

USB are the acronyms of Universal Serial Bus. Surely you know what it is or at least what it is used for, since you will have used it thousands of times.

When we talk about USB connectors we mean connectors and cables that has a bus with which they can provide electricity or serve as communication in an electronic device.

The wide range of possibilities of types of devices that encompasses USB is enormous, since we are talking about a connector that is valid for a mouse, a keyboard, speakers, a charger or a memory stick, among many other things.

What is the function of the USB ports?

A USB port is the component that allows the connecting different devices to each other. As we have already mentioned before, peripherals such as mice or keyboards have their own USB, which must be connected to a port, be it a computer, a charger or any other device.

This type of USB port is an input in which only those products that have the appropriate connector can enter.

Advantages of a USB port

The main advantage of a USB port is that you don’t need to restart the system to connect any type of peripheral device, so as soon as we put it in, it will be operational. This system is what is called plug and play.

USBs also have the ability to detect program or function that must be used for the connected device to work as it should out of the box.

The speed standards in USB ports obviously depend on the type used, but they can be really fast in data transmission between two devices.

With the new port types, the versatility and comfort They are also an important part, something that could not be achieved with the first types.

Another of its advantages is how widespread they are in all kinds of electronic devicesso it will be difficult to find one that does not bring some of the services that it can offer.

USB connection standards, differences and speeds

Within USB we can differentiate different types of connection standards, which are classified according to the speed at which data is transferred.

Its development was the work of a group of companies in the sector that sought to unify the way of connecting peripherals to their equipment. In this group were companies as important as Intel, Microsoft, IBM, Compaq, DEC, NEC and Nortel.

The first complete 1.0 specification was published in 1996, although previous versions such as USB 0.6 in 1994 or 0.9 in 1995 were built.

We are going to start with USB 1.0 to analyze the different versions that have been appearing over the years.

  • usb1.0: They were the first to be marketed. Its transfer rate is up to 1.5 Mbit/s (188 kB/s). It is practically obsolete.
  • USB 1.1: It improved not only in speed, but it was the first Plug and play. Its transfer rate is 12 Mbit/s (1.5 MB/s). Currently, it is only used in some mice and webcams.
  • usb2.0: It can reach a rate of 480 Mbit/s (60 MB/s), although it is normal to stay at 280 Mbit/s (35 MB/s). It is the most widespread standard at the moment.
  • usb3.0: Has a transfer rate of up to 4.8 Gbit/s (600 MB/s).
  • USB 3.1: This standard is capable of twice the speed of the previous one, with a transfer rate of up to 10 Gbit/s (1.25 GB/s). It is usually used in Type C connections, something that we are going to explain to you shortly.
  • USB 3.2: Capable of delivering up to 20 Gbit/s (2.5 GB/s).
  • usb4.0: with a transfer speed of up to 40 Gbit/s (5 GB/s) it is the fastest of all to date.
Standard Transfer speed
1.0 up to 1.5 Mbit/s (188 kB/s)
1.1 up to 12 Mbit/s (1.5 MB/s)
2.0 up to 480 Mbit/s (60 MB/s)
3.0 up to 4.8 Gbit/s (600 MB/s)
3.1 up to 10 Gbit/s (1.25 GB/s)
3.2 up to 20 Gbit/s (2.5 GB/s)
4.0 up to 40 Gbit/s (5 GB/s)

Types of USB connectors

Now that we have seen what the connection standards are, it is time to know the different types of connectors that include USB.

Let’s see what they are, so that you already have all the information about what you are going to find.

  • USB Type A: The predominant connector between peripherals and main computers, a privilege that it now shares with Type C. It is used with the USB 1.0, 2.0, 3.0 and 3.1 standards. Those with the 3.0 or 3.1 standard have a small blue plastic inside.
  • USB Type B: It is mainly used to connect peripherals such as printers and scanners, by means of electrical current. It works with USB 1.0, 2.0 and 3.0.
  • USB Type-C: its main characteristic is that it is completely reversible, so it can be connected however we want. It is usually used with USB 3.1, but it also accepts 3.2 and 4.0, as well as Thunderbolt 3, an alternative standard to HDMI.
  • Mini-USB: currently not used, but it may be found in an old camera.
  • Micro USB: It was very popular and used until the arrival of type C. It is still seen in the occasional entry-level mobile or in those that are a few years old.

USB vs. Apple Lightning

The Apple Lightning is the connection standard who use the iPhone and iPad devices since 2012, when the brand of the bitten apple established its own system. There is only one exception in the iPad Pro, since models from 2018 have USB Type C.

It is fair to compare the Apple Lightning with the USB Type-Cbecause in both cases it does not matter how it is placed that the connector being reversible and because they are the latest standards of both types.

The truth is that the USB Type C is far superior to Lightning in almost every way.

USB-C is compatible with USB 4, the latest and fastest USB specification. As a result, the cables Type C can transfer speeds of up to 40 Gbps. By comparison, the cables Lightning are much slower and transfer data at USB 2.0 speeds of 480 Mbps.

In any case, Apple does not publish all the specifications of its technology, so it is not very clear what the real maximum transfer speed of Lightning is, but there is a devastating fact and that is that Apple has not incorporated any type of update in its system since 2012, so it is to be assumed that its development is much less.

USB Type-C Apple Lightning
Released 2014 Released 2012
Speed: up to 40Gbps Speed ​​up to 480 Mbps
USB 4.0 support Speed ​​similar to USB 2.0
Wide compatibility Compatible only iPhone and iPad
Thunderbolt 3 and 4 compatibility reversible

What is better and faster: USB or wireless charging?

We must be clear, first of all, what we are talking about when we say that a terminal is going to use wireless charging.

The wireless charging It is a type of battery recharging by means of induction, so cables are not necessary. It works thanks to the transfer of electricity through waves that reach the phone causing it to load.

One thing is clear, the fastest wireless charging is slower than that of wired charging.

For example, Xiaomi has a system of fast cable charging that reaches 200 W, which would charge a smartphone with 4,000 mAh in about 8 minutes. Well, this same brand boasts a very fast wireless charger with 80 Wsignificantly less than the previous one we have seen, but still a considerable speed nonetheless.

Another advantage of cable is that it consumes less to be able to charge the phone in general, and always talking about the maximum charging speeds of said device.

Even so, the convenience that wireless charging gives us, not only when we have to charge the phone at home, but also in the car itself, to give another example, it is much higher. If you have an iPhone 14, in addition to this you can also use the MagSafe system with an external battery that charges the terminal wirelessly.

Another of the points in favor of wireless charging is the care of the phone usb connectorwhich with the passing of the months and the hundreds of connections and disconnections when using the cable, can make it suffer too much and even fail.

USB-C and the future of USB connections

USB Type C is increasingly integrated into all ranges of smartphones, computers and even other types of electronic devices, since the advantages are many compared to other standards.

Just the fact of being able to place it as you want without having to look at the position, being reversible, is a substantial advantage. But where you can get your chest out is in what are your data transfer speeds where, at least, you will have the 3.1 standard achieving 10 Gbps.

If we talk about those connectors Type-C USB 4.0 then we will have to talk about 40 Gbps, an absolutely stunning speed.

The future looks really good, adopting speeds that are far from the current maximums, since according to the organization responsible for everything that has to do with this standard, the USB Implementers Forum (USB-IF) Version 2.0 of the USB 4 standard is already in preparation.

If today we have a maximum of 40 Gbps, in the future that figure could reach 120 Gbps in some circumstances thanks to the second version of USB 4.

As you have been able to read, the importance of USB ports and connectors have been, are and will be maximum, since both Type A and Type C will continue to lead the way in the future for what cable connection is.

Although in some areas the cable tends to disappear, USB is still the order of the day, either because of its ability to connect thousands of devices, to get the use of storage systems or simply to synchronize two devices.

USBs are still in very good shape and even more so when Type C ones begin to promise impressive data transmission or charging speeds and which all users will take advantage of in the coming years.

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Varun Kumar

Varun Kumar is a freelance writer working on news website. He contributes to Our Blog and more. Wise also works in higher ed sustainability and previously in stream restoration. He loves running, trees and hanging out with her family.

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