Universal Serial Bus or USB port, in short, is a connection interface and an integral part of today’s computers for connecting mouse, keyboards, printers, game controllers scanners, media drives, and more.
The earliest version of the USB port came in September 1998, as USB 1.1. Over the past three decades, different ports arrived in the market with advanced capabilities, keeping up with hi-tech computers. With every new version, USB ports have become lighter, smaller, more portable, and functional.
The current set of USB ports bring more capacity, speed, and versatility to market, and also has complex features. Based on these features, users have to decide which types of computers with certain USB ports and connectors are perfect for their work.
Over the years, USB ports have undergone a series of modifications for connecting cables, communicating, and supplying power to desktops/laptops, mobile devices, and peripherals. The latest version is USB4 launched in August 2019. This version has leapfrogged the previous versions in terms of power, data transfer speed, and video resolution.
USB-A is the standard rectangular port on almost every desktop PC and the earlier version of laptops, media players, TVs, and game consoles. However, data transfer speed through this port is slow, like a typical older generation port.
This is one of the most common ports to connect USB 2.0 printer cables, external hard drives, and printers to desktop computers. USB Type-B port comes with two different configurations. One is for USB 1.1 and 2.0, whereas the other one is for USB 3.0 and higher specifications.
USB C port is also called USB Type-C, which has a two-fold symmetrical design with a 24-pin group. This port is a relatively new interface that came in 2014.
These days, you will find USB Type-C ports on all types of devices and hosts starting from external hard drives to charging cables for smartphones. This port is used for delivering power and transmitting data as a single cable.
The USB Mini-B port comes with four and five pins and is commonly used for portable electronic items including certain cell phones, GPS units, digital cameras, and MP3 players. This type of port is getting phased out and replaced with Micro USB-B port.
The USB Micro-B port has specific configurations for USB 2.0 and USB 3.0 and more. The Micro-B port is used to connect external drive cages, phones, tablets, various cameras, and other devices.
USB4 is the latest port with advanced capacity, loading time, and it also resolves the confusion around USB 3.x naming. This port provides users a quality and consistent experience. The USB4 protocol needs a USB-C cable.
USB4 offers up to 40 Gbps data transfer rate, and the compatible devices need to support 20 Gbps (2.4 GB/sec). This port can offer an optimal speed of 40 Gbps (4.8 GB/sec) by using the shorter Gen 3 cable (0.8 meters).
USB4 has compatibility with the earlier versions of USB specifications due to its support of TB3 Alt Mode and Thunderbolt 3 foundation.
This port allocates bandwidth dynamically to video and data based on the requirements.
All USB4 devices deliver USB power when connected to a USB4 port. After connecting a device, USB PD negotiates to deliver power by safely supplying up to 100 W (5A/20V).