USB Type-C cable to connect them all

There is a high probability that you have at home the operator devices USB (Universal Serial Bus). With some three billion USB products each year this connection interface is by far the most popular. Still, USB is facing increasing competition, especially by the Thunderbolt surpassed both in terms of performance and ease of use. It is precisely this gap that seeks to reduce the latest version of USB-called Type-C.

But to understand this new format, you must first know the differences between USB Type-A, Type-B and the many versions of the standard. The version refers to the speed and functionality of the USB cable while the USB-type refers to the physical form and configuration of ports and sockets.

USB Type-A

Also known as Standard USB-A, USB Type-A is the initial standard USB with a rectangular shape and flat. A USB cable, the Type-A connector also called male A connector is the end that plugs into the host device like a computer. On the device, the USB port is called female port A. The ports of type-A is mainly found on host devices such as desktops or laptops, game consoles, media players, etc. There are very few devices that use a port-Type. Multiple versions of USB, including USB 1.1, 2.0, 3.0 share the same format Type-A. This means that a Type-A connector is still compatible with Type-A port even if the USB versions used by the device and the host device differ. For example, a USB 3.0 external hard drive works with a USB 2.0 port and vice versa.

Similarly, small devices such as mice, keyboards, network adapters that have an integrated USB cable always use connectors Type-A. This is also the case for wireless products like USB. Connectors and USB 3.0 ports include more pins than the USB 2.0 connectors to provide better performance and a larger amount of energy. But these pins are arranged in a way that does not prevent the run with previous versions.

You should also remember that there are plugs and connectors Type-A smaller Mini called Type-A or Type-A Micro, but very few devices use.

USB Type-B

The Type-B connector is the end of a standard USB cable that comes to plug into the device (printer, telephone, external hard drive …). It is also called Type-B male. On the device, the USB port is referred to as Type-B female.

Since the size and format devices vary widely, the Type-B connector and port adopt different designs. There are 5 versions for plugs and connectors USB type-B. And as the end Type-A USB cable is not changing is the other end Type-B for determining the cable name.

The original standard B: This design appeared for the USB 1.1 port and it also serves to 2.0. It is used most often to connect a computer to large devices such as printers and scanners.

Mini-USB or mini-B US B: significantly smaller, mini-USB Type-B equipped the mobile devices such as cameras, music players, external hard disk. Obsolete, it is now rarely used.

Micro-USB or micro-USB B: slightly smaller than the Mini-USB, the one that is currently the most prevalent on smartphones, tablets, digital cameras …

Micro-USB 3.0 or USB 3.0 Micro-B: it is mainly found on portable USB 3.0 hard drives. Most of the time, the cable termination type-A is blue.

USB 3.0 standard: this design is very close to that of standard-B except that it is designed to handle the speed of USB 3.0. Most of the time, both ends of the cable are blue.

Finally, note that there is a variant of the USB 3.0 uncommon nicknamed Powered-B. This format has two additional pins to provide more energy to the device. There is also a Type Micro-AB port that allows the unit to operate as a host or device. But it is quite rare.

USB owner

All devices do not use USB cables standards as those we have mentioned. Some adopt a design owner instead of taking and Type-B connector. The most famous example is that of the iPhone and iPad where the end of Type-B connector is replaced by a 30-pin connector or lightning. In contrast, the Type-A portion remains unchanged. Samsung also, for a time, was tempted by a proprietary version of its cables.

Versions of the USB

USB 1.1: output in 1998, this is the first version to be widely adopted (version 1.0 was never implemented in consumer products). Its maximum speed is 12 Mbit / s (in fact it is rather about 1.2 Mbit / s). This version is obsolete.

USB 2.0: output in April 2000, its maximum speed is 480 Mbit / s for Hi-Speed ​​mode or 12 Mbit / s in Full-Speed ​​mode. It can power a device up to 2.5 V and 1.8 A. It is backward compatible with USB 1.1.

USB 3.0: release in November 2008, this version reaches 5 Gbit / s SuperSpeed ​​mode. Ports and USB 3.0 connectors are usually blue. It is backward compatible with USB 2.0 and can deliver up to 1.8 A above 5 V.

USB 3.1: output in July 2013, USB 3.1 2 multiplied by the speed of USB 3.0 to 10 Gbit / s (SuperSpeed ​​USB SuperSpeed ​​+ or 10 Gbit / s), which also makes it faster than the original Thunderbolt standard. The USB 3.1 is backward compatible with USB 3.0 and 2.0. It has 3 power profiles and allows larger aircraft to feed from the host terminal. Up to 2A at 5V (for a maximum consumption of 10W), or optionally up to 5 A at 12 V (60 W) or 20 V (100 W). The first USB 3.1 devices are happening and uses the format USB Type-C.

USB Type-C or USB-C

Ports and USB Type-C connector is physically the same size as the USB Micro-B. A Type-C Port measuring 8.4 x 2.6 mm. This implies that it is sufficiently miniaturized to operate with smaller devices. With the Type-C, the two ends of the cable are identical, which means that it is reversible. There is also no sense of connection for the taking.

The USB Type-C began to appear this year. It is USB 3.1 up to 10 Gbit / s and can deliver up to 5 A at 20 V (100 W power). Knowing that most portable 15-inch PC calling about 60 W power, this means that future models can be charged via its USB port like tablets and smartphones. The new MacBook 12-inch Apple and Google Chromebook Pixel 2 are equipped with USB Type-C.

The USB Type-C will also promote the arrival of external hard drives for greater capacity supplied by the port and not by a separate power adapter. This new standard can provide a bi-directional power supply, which means that devices could also load the host terminal. This will help eliminate the AC adapters and USB cables owners in favor of one versatile and universal solution.

Backward via adapters

The USB Type-C and USB 3.1 are backward compatible with USB 3.0 and USB 2.0. In a purely connection Type-C, there is neither port nor taken Type-A. However, to ensure compatibility, there will be compatible cables Type A to Type C. There will also adapters by which devices Type-C will work with existing devices using the USB formats. This is the first time, and presumably the latter, which transitions are required for the USB. The USB Implementers Forum, the group responsible for the development of USB, stated that the Type-C is designed to last and will be preserved for future versions of USB.

It will certainly be several years before the USB Type-C is required and becomes as common as Type-A. But little doubt as to its success. The widespread USB Type-C will greatly simplify the way we use our devices. Suffice to one small cable to connect and power any product.

Article by Dong Ngo for