What are USBs? Advantages and Disadvantages

USB

USB (Universal Serial Bus) is an industry standard developed in the mid 1990s that defines the cables, connectors and communications protocols used for connection, communication and power supply between computers and electronic devices.

The development of this standard was necessary to replace a number of existing standards which were confusing and less effective. It also helped reduce cost by creating common interfaces.

A major benefit of USB is its plug and play capability: devices can be plugged and unplugged without restarting or removing other devices. Another important feature is the transfer speed. It’s fast enough to move large amounts of data quickly while also allowing quick syncing with mobile phones, cameras , etc.

In addition, the USB interface is hot-pluggable which means that cables can be connected and disconnected with devices powered on. This is a very useful feature, especially in places where it’s difficult to reach a power source or outlets are scarce. While this might not sound like a big deal at first glance, think about how many times you have had to go hunting for an available AC outlet to plug your laptop charger in. Or having to unplug something else from the wall so you could charge your phone…

Finally, USB allows for daisy-chaining – another great convenience offered by the standard making it more practical than ever before. Daisy-chaining allows users to connect up to 127 devices (let’s say USB flash drives) to a single port on the computer. This can be very convenient if you need quick access to, say, several different types of files without having to use multiple devices.

Unfortunately, not all devices are compatible with USB just yet – most notable of the lot being Apple’s Macintosh computers that do not recognize or allow for USB connections. You can still connect these machines to other USB peripherals by using an adapter but you won’t be able to run anything off of your device (such as an external hard drive).

History of USB

Despite the fact that USB was developed to allow for several different types of operating systems to work together, there have been roadblocks in its progress. In fact, it wasn’t until 2009 when Apple finally began to include USB ports on their machines.

Of course not all computers come with a USB port pre-installed – whether you’re using a desktop or a laptop depends on how large or small your device is and what you plan on using it for. For example, if you only ever plan on connecting external devices such as flash drives then you’ll probably be okay with a smaller laptop that’s built for portability.

Advantages and Disadvantages of USBs

With that being said, most computers do indeed  come with a USB port included. The benefit of this is you can plug and unplug all you want. However, if your computer only has one or two ports available then this may not be such a good thing. If you’re the type of person who wants to use multiple USB devices at once then you’ll definitely need more than just a few ports to do that effectively.

Some computers come equipped with hubs which allow for several different USB devices to connect simultaneously without taking up too many on-board ports on the main body of the machine. In some cases it’s even possible to daisy chain hubs together for additional space as well as power capabilities. This is especially useful if your computer does not have enough power from its own outlet to power all the USB devices you want to use at once.

When it comes to choice of hubs there are quite a few options out there for users today, but none more comprehensive than this list (found via Lifehacker ). This is not limited to computer hubs either; USB hubs come in all different shapes and sizes including portable ones which can fit into your pocket or purse. You can even get them designed like LEGO blocks for that extra dash of fun!

Types of USB connectors

Since its release in early 2000s, USB has become one of the most widely used methods to connect peripheral devices to a computer system. The use of multiple connections allows users to simultaneously run many different devices without having to switch cables or change settings. According to Wikipedia there were over 1 billion USB products manufactured as of 2010 with estimates reaching upwards of 2 billion by 2012.

The original design had five pins; however many new versions have been created with the primary variation being the number of pins available for connection. Other variations such as the orientation and size of the device have also been implemented to maximize compatibility and speed.

The following is a list of currently known USB connectors along with their specifications:

1. Standard A-type: The Standard A-type connector was introduced with the first USB specification and provides a single downstream facing port to connect to peripherals such as keyboards, mice, and tablets or smartphones that occasionally need to be plugged in and unplugged from a computer system where there is no risk of data loss or corruption. This standard has five pins which consist of 4 signal wires accompanied by ground wire used as the return path for current flow to avoid possible shorts. It can be identified by the small embossed letter “A” on the connector shell.

2. Standard B-type: The standard B-type connector is the larger of two that were introduced in USB 2.0 and intended for printers, scanners or hard drives that occasionally need to be plugged in and unplugged from a computer system where there is no risk of data loss or corruption. It has 7 pins which consist of 4 signal wires accompanied by 3 ground wires used as the return path for current flow to avoid possible shorts. Its pinout consists of four downstream facing ports (two host connections and two device connections) along with an additional third port between them; this “extra” port provides access to all four downstream facing ports simultaneously, mitigating any problems associated with incorrectly connecting devices to host endpoints.

3. USB 3.0 is designed for faster USB flash drives and increased data rates, such as those required by high-resolution cameras and 4K video. It uses a 9-pin plug (which was first introduced as the Micro B standard) and has been part of the USB specification since April 2000 with its 5 V/500 mA maximum current at just 10 grams in weight. The most common type of connector used is micro B type, which is smaller than the previous type A design yet larger than a mini B connector, at ~11mm long (~20% longer than Mini-B), ~4mm wide (~33% wider), and ~1.3mm thick (~60% thicker than Mini-B).

4. The Micro B type is the most common USB connector for smartphones and other portable devices, while the Mini B connector has been largely replaced by its smaller sibling. The earlier full-size Type A connector (at ~19mm long by ~9mm wide by ~5mm thick) continues to be used in legacy devices.

Author:
I am a computer engineer holding a bachelor's degree in Computer Science, complemented by a Master's in Business Administration from University of Strathclyde, Scotland. I currently work as a Senior IT Consultant in Melbourne, Australia. With over 15 years of...