What is USB Type C and Its Capability?

Universal Serial Bus (USB) was invented in back 1996 by a group of computer companies trying to find a way for the computer to connect to external devices such as printers, and cameras. Before the invention of the USB, all computers had a few ports, including those of the keyboard and mouse. Though the USB technology was not quickly accepted, the demand was driven high when Apple introduced an iMac with USB ports, and other manufacturers adapted the technology and introduce their products into the market. The new technology led to the replacement of floppy disks and the introduction of flash disks. Through revisions, the USB has seen changes to facilitate speed in connections and gain more storage.

Before the Introduction of Type-C

USB 1.0

This was released in 1996 and could transfer data with a speed of 1.5mbs. It saw an upgrade in 1998 to USB 1.1 with a transfer rate of 12mbs.

USB 2.0

It was introduced in 2000 and was capable of speeds up to 480mbs. USB 1.0 and 2.0 are only capable of one-direction data transfer and have a length limit of five meters. USB 2.0 and above are referred to as USB High Speed.

USB 3.0

Introduced in 2008, has speeds of up to 4.8Gbs. USB 3.0 and above are referred to as USB SuperSpeed.

The need for fast charging and high-speed data transfer pushed for upgrades even higher. The use of a single cable for multi-purpose drove the rise of USB type C, but what is USB type C, and what is it capable of?

What is USB Type C?

Before the introduction of USB-C, the need for power and data transfer involved docking many cables, creating wire cluttering in a working station. In 2014, the USB-IF (group of companies that developed the Universal Serial Bus specification and USB peripherals) introduced the USB type C, a charging connector with charging negotiating capabilities, supporting up to 15watts and data transfer capabilities of up to 10Gbps in the 3.1 generation.

Unlike the earlier USB connectors, the USB type C has 24 pins that are symmetrical in rotation, consisting of four power (GND) and four Vbus, 14 data pins, and two CC pins for power negotiations which allow communications between devices to adapt the right power needed. This means in USB-C only one cable is needed for both power and transfer of data simultaneously.

A standard USB type C cable has the same connector on both ends, so it can connect to the host on one side and the receptor on the other end, and other USB-C cables have USB-A on the other end. We wholesale a wide range of USB C cables, and also support customization, we have our own factory to provide you with the lowest cost price.

Types of USB-C

Though all USB-C cables and ports have a similar appearance, they have a difference in performance. USB-C is grouped under three performance categories, speed, power, and protocol.

1. Speed

USB-C has been largely accepted because of its capabilities to transfer large files within a short time.

  • USB 2.0 is the most used charging and data cable for cell phones.
  • USB 3.0 now called USB 3.2 gen 1 has transfer speeds of 5Gbs
  • USB 3.1 released in 2013 but now referred to as USB 3.2 gen 2, transfers data at a speed of 10Gbs when connected with USB type A.
  • USB 3.2×2 gen 2 connected to USB-C was released in 2017 and has a transfer rate of 20Gbs.
  • USB 4 which was released in 2019 can transfer data with speeds of up to 40Gbs.

2. Power

  • USB 3.0(3.2 gen 1) has a maximum power output of 2.5V, 1.8A.
  • USB 3.1(3.2 gen 2) has a maximum output of 2.5V, 5A.
  • USB 3.2×2 has a maximum power output of 20V, 5A.
  • USB 4 has the capability of a maximum 48V, 5A.
  • Thunderbolt 3: gives a maximum output of 100w.
  • Thunderbolt 4: has a maximum power output of 100W.

3. Protocol

USB-C uses a set of procedures in the transmission of data, some of the protocol supported includes:

  • Thunderbolt 3: Capable of transferring data of up to 40Gbs and power output to a maximum of 100W. It has support for 4k and DisplayPort.
  • HDMI: Connections without a cable to a device with enabled HDMI.

Advantages of USB-C

USB-C ruled over earlier USB connectors because it came with features that were missing from the other USB connectors and ports. These include

Small and thin

The feature made it possible to be compatible with slim devices such as phones.

No Orientation

USB-C comes with identical ends and does not have a right side up or down. This is because it has mirrored pins making the plugs also reversible and can connect to a device with a USB-C port.

High power supply

USB C can deliver a power supply of up 100watts when connected with USB power delivery (USB PD). Due to the available CC pins, USB-C can charge devices of small to large sizes despite the need for power levels.

Unlimited manufacturer

The use of USB-C is not limited to any device manufacturer, it is can be integrated into any device unlike, for example, the apple lighting charger. In addition, unlike fast chargers that are only compatible with specific devices made for them, the USB-C is a standard charger for any device with a type C port, this is because it can change the power supply to the necessary needed level.

Single cable use

The standard USB C cable can transfer data and deliver power both at the same time.


There remains some confusion with USB-C cables and connectors, where consumers claim the port and cable varieties are many and lack proper labeling yet the design remains undistinguishable, unlike the other USB types that had a difference in appearance.

Though standard USB-C provides fast data transfer and higher charging speeds, it would be easier if the USB-IF would limit to a single cable and connector that has the capabilities to handle various speeds and power despite the device in use. However, for maximum speed and performance, both the cable and device have to be compatible with each other’s capabilities. with more manufacturers adopting the custom of USB-C in their devices, the possibility of these connectors becoming a universal standard is very high.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *