All About USB

DataPro Tech Info > All About USB

USB Cable USB stands for Universal Serial Bus. It is a standard by which data and power can be transmitted between computing devices. Originally created as a connector for computer peripherals such as keyboards, mice, and external storage devices, it has also become a ubiquitous standard for charging portable devices like wireless phones and tablets. A "universal" standard may have been an optimistic goal when USB was first brought to market, but it has been largely achieved - today, virtually every computing device implements some form of it.


History
Standard Release Date Speed
USB 1.0199612 Mbit/s
USB 2.02000480 Mbit/s
USB 3.1 Gen 1 (USB 3.0)20085 Gbit/s
USB 3.1 Gen 2 (USB 3.1)201310 Gbit/s
There have been four major releases of the USB standard. The original in 1996, followed by USB 2.0 in 2000, USB 3.0 in 2008, and USB 3.1 in 2013. The most recent updates, originally termed USB 3.0 and 3.1, have since been renamed USB 3.1 gen 1 and USB 3.1 gen 2.





Connectors
Individual USB products are defined by both their standard and their connector or connectors. There are five common types of USB connector: A, B, Mini-B, Micro-B, and C. Each connector has a male and a female version.

USB Type-A Connector
The Type-A connector is the familiar rectangle and is intended to connect directly to a host or hub. It was designed to fit into its socket in only one possible orientation, while cables were intended to have a Type A connector only at one end so that power could flow in only one direction.

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USB Type-B Connector
The Type-B connector is the original counterpart to the Type A connector. It is a tapered square, designed to fit in only one orientation, and to make the traditional A to B cable function in only one direction. While the traditional Type B connector is fine for devices intended to stay plugged in most of the time, such as USB printers, it was not designed to endure thousands of insertion-removal cycles.

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USB Mini-B Connector
The Mini-B connector is smaller and more durable than its predecessors. It was designed for supplying power and data to mobile devices which will be connected and disconnected thousands of times.

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USB Micro-B Connector
The Micro-B connector is a small chamfered rectangle, designed to last twice as long as the Mini-B connector. The vast majority of mobile devices accept the Micro-B connector, as of 2016.

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USB Type-C Connector
The Type-C connector is the latest addition to the lineup and is reversible in both cable and connector orientation. The connector has no "right side up" or "upside down". Also unlike previous USB cables, either end may be connected to either the host or the device. Read more about USB type-C here!

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What are the advantages of USB Type-C?
Read more in our USB-C guide!




Solutions
One of the most common problems we help solve is the length limitation of USB. Because of the manner in which data is carried through the cable, USB cables have a practical maximum length of approximately 15 feet. There are three solutions we typically recommend, each with different strengths and weaknesses.




USB Boosted Extension Cable
The most popular and afforable method is to use a Boosted USB Extension Cable. These contain a small "booster" module at the female end, which receives and repeats the signal. Shorter boosted cables can be daisy-chained together, while longer cables use an integrated booster every 15 feet. These methods can extend the range of USB up to around 80 feet.

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USB Ethernet Extender
For longer distances, a USB over Ethernet adapter may be preferable. These consist of two boxes, a transmitter and receiver, connected by a standard Ethernet cable. Although they have a range of up to 100m (328ft), they are currently limited to USB 2.0 speeds (480Mbps).

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USB Fiberoptic Extender
Finally, the ultimate long-distance (and low-interference) method of extending USB is to use a fiberoptic extender. These are similar to the Ethernet method above, but employ a fiberoptic cable as the medium. While these tend to be the most expensive option, they also allow the greatest distances and speed. Depending on the device used, it's possible to achieve ranges of over a mile!

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Looking for more information?
We hope this guide will serve as a starting point for familiarity with USB. Should you have any questions, or if you're looking for a specific solution, feel free to contact our Sales department.

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