USB (Universal Serial Bus) is a protocol standard that regulates the connection and communication between computers and external devices.
It can support a variety of functions and it also comes in a range of formats. Here we're going to take a look at and explain them all.
1. USB Data Transfer
If you're looking into buying a hub with some USB ports, it's important to know exactly what you're getting.
If you look closely, you'll see that somewhere in the user manual or maybe on the side of the hub, there'll be some numbers after USB. For example USB 2.0 or USB 3.2 etc.
These numbers indicate the maximum data-transfer speed of that type of hub.
See the following table for a list of every USB protocol with corresponding transfer speeds.
USB 3.1 Gen 1
USB 3.1 Gen 2
2. USB Port Types
The most common types of USB ports are USB-A and USB-C. The USB-A port is known to most people simply as a USB port because it's the most ubiquitous port type, and is found on everything from computers to games consoles and more. USB-C ports have been growing in popularity over the last few years, and are used on most new phones and notebooks.
Aside from these 2 types of USB ports, there are also a lot more. See the table below for full details:
A quick tip on telling apart USB 3.0 and USB 2.0 is that USB 3.0 generally has a piece of blue plastic inside, while USB 2.0 will be black or white inside.
3. What Do USB Ports Do?
3.1 USB-A Ports
The USB-A port is generally used to connect USB drives, keyboards, and mice, and can also charge mobile phones and other equipment.
3.2 USB-C Ports
The USB-C connector is reversible, so you don't have to worry about plugging it in the wrong way. In terms of functionality, USB-C can support charging, file transfer, and media display. But not all USB-C devices support all of these functions.
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