Why the USB Connector is Considered Revolutionary
Author：danny / time：2018-04-10 / The number of clicks：791
The USB Connector, or Universal Serial Bus, is one of the most popular and commonly used connectors at this day and age. It features a standardized port that can link different peripheral devices to computers. Examples of these peripheral devices are cameras, mice, keyboards, flash drives, and cell phones, to name a few.
Apart from its standardized port, it also features a plug-and-play benefit. This means that you can plug and unplug the peripheral device from the computer without the need to install drivers or restart your computer.
Because it is easy to use and very functional, the USB connector is considered one of the most successful connectors ever developed.
Before the USB
But before the USB, connecting peripheral devices to computers wasn’t always this easy. Depending on what type of device you are connecting, you would need several types of ports, each a different size, shape, and capability.
If you wanted to connect a mouse, you would need a PS/2 connector. If you wanted to connect a printer or scanner, you had to use a parallel port. If it was a joystick you wanted to connect, you had to use a game port.
Serial and parallel ports
But not all interfaces were created equal. Serial ports had data transfer speeds that ranged from 115 to 450 kbps. Parallel ports, on the other hand, were capable of speeds of only about 100 kbps.
Running two or more devices at the same time was also an issue as some ports were not capable of operating simultaneously.
USB Implementers Forum
Because of the rampant interface incompatibilities, the need for a standard data transfer system arose. Sometime in the 90s, a number of industry leaders came together with the goal of developing a common data transfer connection system. The likes of Hewlett-Packard, Microsoft, Apple, Intel, and NEC formed a rare alliance to develop the USB . They consequently founded the USB Implementers Forum, a non-profit organization created to support and promote the USB.
Apart from the development of a standardized data transfer system to replace the existing ones, the USB addressed several other concerns. It allowed peripheral devices connected to source power from computes once connected, both for operation and battery charging.
“Hot swapping,” which means that peripheral devices may be added and removed even while the computer is running, is another feature of the USB that gained popularity.
The issue of incompatibility has also been addressed. With the development of the USB connector interface, a single port can now be used to connect more than a hundred devices with collective compatibility.
When the USB first came out—dubbed the USB 1.0—it offered data transfer speeds of 12 mbps. Subsequently, this was improved to a full speed rate of 12 mbps with the USB 1.1. For lower bandwidths, though, it can operate at a speed of as low as 1.5 mbps. Later on, the USB 2.0 debuted with speeds of up to 480 mbps.
The USB 3.0 was later developed to offer a “super speed” rate of up to 4.8 gbps. Then in 2014, the USB-C came out, which features a 24-pin connected meant to replace most Type A and Type B connectors.
The continuing improvements on the USB only mean that this revolutionary interface has more to offer in terms of data transfer speed, compatibility, and performance. It has successfully replaced old serial and parallel ports to become the mainstream interface in today’s generation. We can only expect the USB connector to continue to evolve in the coming years as more and more peripheral devices are being introduces and the need for faster, more efficient, and more reliable connections continue to be on the rise.