USB: Everything You Need to Know

Gone are those days when you had to use separate ports and cables to connect different devices to the computers. USB has made things for users by standardizing one connection type for connecting different kinds of devices to the computer. The main aim of USB was to create a standard cable and port and make computing far easier for end-users.

What is a USB?

USB or universal serial bus is a standard protocol that is adopted by different manufacturers to create a universal connection for connecting various types of devices to the computer. Basically, it is a common connection type that allows users to easily connect devices like keyboards, speakers, mice, printers, etc., to the computer without needing a separate cable or port type.

Before USB, computer manufacturers had to create specialized ports, cables, and connectors for each device type. Previously, mice or keyboards were only compatible with PS2 ports, and you couldn’t connect them anywhere else.

But the arrival of USB made things easier for users, and you can connect a mouse, keyboard, speaker, and printer to the same port of the computer. USB has come a long way, and nowadays, it supports up to 127 devices that can be connected to the computer using the same port.

In fact, USB has become so common that all gaming consoles, car infotainment systems, entertainment devices, and various other computer-like devices have adopted it.

A Brief History of USB

USB came into the industry in 1995, and it was a group of seven companies that introduced them. The main objective of IBM, Microsoft, Intel, Compaq, NEC, DEC, and Nortel was to create a universal connection standard for connecting different devices to computers.

Ajay Bhatt led an inventor team at Intel who first invented the universal serial bus-supported device. They wanted to replace the use of multiple connector types and create a single protocol for every device.

Although USB was invented in 1995, it took almost five years for the organization to make it commercially available in the market. Slowly all the organizations, especially motherboard manufacturers, started adopting it, and by 2008, it was able to become a popular choice for connecting different devices.

Nowadays, most devices, whether it is a computer, gaming consoles, portable devices, car infotainment, etc., use at least one or two USBs. The quick file transfer, ease of use, and driver compatibility have made USB replace numerous interfaces in various devices.

Different Standards of USB

Since the arrival of USB in the industry, many standards of the protocol have been introduced, and USB 4 is the latest one in the lot.

USB 1.0/1.1

USB 1.0 is the first standard that was introduced in the industry in 1996, and it could achieve a maximum data transfer rate of 12Mbps. Moreover, it has a charging power of 500mA, which was an excellent figure at that time.

USB 1.1 was also introduced in the market after a certain time period as an improvement of USB 1.0. However, this standard was only compatible with Type A and Type B USB connectors.

USB 2.0

The USB 2.0 standard brought the main revolution in the industry as it rectified all the limitations of the previous standard and made many improvements. Since it came as a significant upgrade, it was able to offer a transfer rate of 480Mbps and power delivery of 15 watts.

It supports one-way communication, but it has the ability to communicate with USB devices without needing a separate host.

USB 3.0

Even though USB 2.0 was a significant hit, it still had some drawbacks, and USB 3.0 came as the advanced version. It was launched in 2008, and due to its SuperSpeed mode of 5Gbps transfer rate, many manufacturers started adopting it.

What made it stand out is its super fast charging speed and ability to communicate in two ways. This standard also came up with USB 3.1 and USB 3.2, which were introduced to rectify certain drawbacks of USB 3.0.

USB 4.0

USB 4.0 is the latest standard that is currently available in the industry, and it was launched in 2019. It also supports two-way data communication but at a massive data speed of 40Gbps.

This standard is based on Thunderbolt 3 protocol and supports backward compatibility with older USB standards.

Different Types of USB Connectors

Like USB standards, you will also come across different connector types for USB, and they come useful for connecting different types of devices. Let’s check them out. You can wholesale various types of USB cables at ByteCable. Unlike buying from vendor, you can now buy directly from our factory at an affordable price.


It is the most common and original USB connector with a rectangular form factor, and it is found in almost every older generation PC, laptop, gaming console, and TV. The form factor of this connector for all USB standards is the same so that you can connect USB 3.0 Type A to USB 1.1 Type-A port.


Unlike USB Type A, USB B is not that popular, and it is only utilized for connecting large devices to the computer. It has a separate configuration for USB 2.0 and older, while the other is intended for USB 3.0 and later. It is mostly suitable for connecting printers, scanners, external hard drives, etc., to the computer.

USB Mini B

USB Mini B is considered the smaller version of the USB Type B connector, which was specifically designed for USB 1.1 and USB 2.0 configurations. It was mostly used for transferring data and charging older generation phones, MP3 players, and digital cameras.

USB Micro B

USB Micro B was quite common among users using Android smartphones, tablets, and external hard drives. This connector type not only provides data transferring but also charging.

Even though Type C has become a market norm, some manufacturers still use Micro B connectors for their devices as they are affordable. It has one configuration for USB 2.0 standard and another configuration for USB 3.0 and later standards.

USB Type C

USB Type C is currently the most used connector in the industry, and almost every device nowadays comes with this connector type.

Whether it is a smartphone, laptop, earbuds, or gaming controller, nowadays, most modern devices use it as it can handle fast charging, swift data transfer, and display connectivity. It has reversible connectivity, so it can be connected either way, and has a thin form factor.

USB Color Coding

Different USB ports and connectors have a unique color coding to indicate their version and supported specifications. This color code helped users identify the USB version easily without any assessment. However, color coding is not standard among all manufacturers. Let’s check out all the standard color codes.


It is a common color code that was introduced with USB 1.0 and USB 1.0 standards. You will mostly find this color code in USB A, USB B, and Micro USB A connector types of the first generation.


Black color coding is used for defining the High-Speed USB 2.0 standard and is found in USB A, USB B, and Micro USB B connector types.


USB 3.0 SuperSpeed standard came with the color coding of blue, and it helped users to distinguish it from USB 2.0. You will find this color code in USB A and USB B connector types designed for USB 3.0.


USB 3.1 Gen 1 has a teal color code in the interior, and it is mostly in USB A and USB B connectors.


Red color code was used to denote USB 3.1 Gen 2 and USB 3.2 standard and was meant for Sleep-and-Charge USB A type.

Final Thought

USB connecting and using devices is an easy affair for users. It not only helped in fast data transfer from one device to other and also helped us charge them in a quick time. Nowadays, almost all devices use USB protocol for connectivity, and modern operating systems don’t even require you to install drivers for certain devices.

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