Getting to Know the USB Connector
Author：danny / time：2018-04-10 / The number of clicks：793
The USB connector, short for “universal serial bus,” is a type of connector developed in the 1990s to link computers and peripheral devices. It was developed to simplify and standardize connection, communication, and power supply between computers and peripherals. Examples of peripheral devices include printers, keyboards, scanners, digital cameras, portable media players, disk drives, and network adapters, to name a few.
The pre-USB age
Before the USB interface was developed, linking a computer to several peripheral devices at the same time was rather challenging.
For one, a wide array of ports and connectors existed. There was a port dedicated to one particular type of peripheral device. Each one was of a different size and shape, and used a unique protocol. This caused a lot of confusion on the part of the end user.
In addition to this, computers can generally accommodate only up to two devices at the same time due to the limited number of slots for the connectors. If you had to connect two digital cameras, for example, you had to eject the first device before you can connect and access the second one. You also had to configure the devices first before you can access your files or use your device.
Because of these issues, functionality was often compromised. However, the development of the USB interface addressed all these. Since its development, the USB interface has become so prevalent and effective that a lot of people consider it one of the most successful connectors to date.
Plug and play
One major feature that has made the USB interface one of the most commonly used types of connectors is its plug-and-play benefit. This means that the USB connects and works with the computer as soon as it is connected. There is no need to manually install drivers or configure the device before connection is activated. After plugging the USB, the computer automatically recognizes it, begins to load the necessary drivers, and works with the device instantaneously.
As compared with serial and parallel port connections, this feature of the USB interface presents more advantages in terms of mobility, flexibility, and speed.
Ease of use
The USB interface is also popular for its ease of use. It is considered a “hot-swappable” device. This means that it is capable of being connected and disconnected from the bus while your computer is on, and other peripherals are detected without the need to reboot your computer.
Connecting the USB connector device to the computer is a simple task. You just have to look for the USB port on your laptop or your CPU and plug the connector into it. To disconnect, you just have to unplug your USB device from the port without having to restart your computer.
Extra care must be observed when disconnecting a USB mass storage device, though. To disconnect it from the computer, you have to eject it first from the system. If you are a Windows user, simply click “Safely Remove Hardware” from the system tray. If you are a Mac user, just drag the USB drive icon into the Trash Can, which can be found on the Dock at the bottom of the screen. This is done to avoid corrupting data or damaging the drive, which often happens when the USB mass storage device is unplugged from the port before the drive finishes writing the data.
Length. USB cables can extend to as long as five meters. It can go to up to six times this normal length, or 30 meters, if there are hubs.
Wires. Power is carried by two wires, one of which is +5 and the other, ground. A twisted pair of wire is responsible for carrying data.
Communication. Because the USB device is capable of two-way communication between the computer and peripherals, it is ideal for a lot of I/O applications.
Sleep mode. When the computer switches on to power-saving mode, most USB devices can be put on “sleep” mode by the computer.
Without a doubt, the development of the USB has enhanced the way we use computers and peripheral devices. While there may still be room for improvement, experts believe that with its user-friendly features and capabilities, the USB connector is here to stay for a long time.