Today, virtually all devices connect to the computer via USB port, which is a universal standard for joining different types of devices. Until 1995, each device connected to a computer using unique connectors, thus computers had many different ports for a variety of devices. This situation was completely inconvenient, so engineers started development of a new universal technology that would allow any kind of device to be connected to it. As a result, USB was born.
In simple terms, Universal Serial Bus, commonly known as USB, is a technology providing the ability to connect devices to a host. Once a smartphone is connected to the host through the USB port, a message appears showing that the device is connected to the computer. And often the computer shows what exactly is connected to it. The computer processes data on the newly arrived device, detects it, loads the device driver, and offers some options to operate with it. Without USB technology this connection process would not be as simple or fast.
The primary purpose for writing this paper is to answer the question of how a computer knows exactly which model of Android or Apple smartphone is connected to it. The answer is very simple. When the USB cable is inserted into the host machine, it looks for whether this device has already been connected, and if not, it loads the driver for the device using a PID/VID (Product ID/Vendor ID) combination. In order to obtain a VID, the manufacturer of the device asks the USB Implementers Forum organization to give the right to use their technologies in their product (it is not free of charge).
Let’s look closely at the structure of the USB cable.
It consists of four wires: D+, D-, Vbus, and GND. The last two are obvious: they are for the supply voltage (+5V) and the ground, respectively. D+ and D- are for the data transmission to and from the host. This is the structure of the USB 2.0 cable, though for the USB 3.0 cable, it is extended and contains eight wires, with four additional wires for data transmission at a higher speed.
Generally, there are two types of connectors: one that accepts a connector, and another that is used to plug in to a device. The first type is called the female type, and the second is the male type (see figure below).
Concerning the types of USB connectors, the figure below represents almost the entire development history of USB. Type A is the standard USB port presented in the majority of today’s devices, being slightly replaced by the more advanced USB 3.0. Type B was the next generation of USB, but because of its bulky shape, it is now used in boards and devices where size does not have much impact.
After Type B, USB Mini connectors were introduced to the world. There are some old phones that still have these ports inside of them. However, the majority of phones use the USB Micro port and connector. This is an advanced version of the previous USB cables, since it has a fifth pin for low speed signaling that connects to USB-OTG (on-the-go) applications. USB-OTG is a specification that provides the ability to make a host be a peripheral and vice versa (the phone can be either a receiver of energy or its transmitter).
USB 2.0 is the most common and widely used standard around the globe. It supports three speed modes: 1.5 mbps (megabits per second), 12 mbps, and 480 mbps. The wide range of speeds is due to the fact that previous standards were still used when USB 2.0 was introduced, and it was necessary to be able to support and continue using them.
The current standard of USB 3.0 can provide data transmission at a speed of 4.8 Gigabits per second, which is ten times greater than the previous standard. But it is not the only enhancement. As was already mentioned, its cable consists of eight wires, with four additional wires for data transmission at higher data rates, and the data can pass from peripheral to host and from host to peripheral simultaneously.
And the most recent and the most advanced USB is Type C. It is important to note that Type C is not a new standard, but rather a new version of the connector for the standard. There is so much debate around this, as this is an innovative technology with distinct capabilities previously not known.
Type C is a universal type of USB connector because it can be plugged into the host in either of the sides. This is provided by 12 pairs of pins that are allocated in such a way that whichever side you connect the cable to the device, it will work with all the available capacity. See the picture below.
The collection of figures below shows the connector in a micro-sized view to see these additional side latches that produce a click once the connector is plugged in. These latches are so tiny that users are not able to see them.
As for the speed, USB Type C is capable of producing enormous data rates: 10 Gbps, but under the condition of the appropriate power supply.
Highly favored in the IT sector and far beyond, the USB standard is a plug-and-play interface allowing for the communication between a computer and other devices. USB is a “thingy” that each of us must be familiar with. Still, this industry standard comprises a vast number of features and elements far beyond the scope of our knowledge. For this reason, out IT-savvy writers have provided this comprehensive overview for you to enhance your understanding of USB, including USB type C, as well as to use this analysis to help you complete your home assignment for class.
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