The technology evolution is a dynamic process. It evolves day by day with new twists and turns. For instance, ever since we had USB cables and ports, they made our life easier with steady growth throughout the years. Back in the days, when USB ports didn’t exist, Pentium or Pentium II ports saved us. You will likely remember having multiple colored ports to deal with! And how can we not remember PS/2 connector or serial port to connect a mouse and keyboard? I am sure you must have remembered about having to hook up those bulk printers and scanners with parallel ports and metal clamps.
Here we can clearly say that without the revolution of USB ports, we’d still be dealing with those serial connectors in the same old fashion. USB cables and ports achieved a great transformation for the past two decades. But do you ever wonder from where it all began? Today, let’s roll back to 1990s when the USB was invented first…
USB 1.1 -The Beginning
The first ever USB version USB 1.1 was brought to life in the early 1990s. At that time, it had a maximum transfer rate of 12Mbps. Of course, it’s nothing compared to today’s scenario. But during that time period, it was an era of PS/2, serial and parallel connectors. And this much of data transfer speed was more than enough. It convinced computer users to adopt the USB standard.
By the late 1990s, you would find the computers with 1-2 USB ports on the motherland. Following the dynamic process of evolution, manufacturers started manufacturing USB connectors supported mouse, keyboards, and printers. You must have remembered the connection of USB 1.1, the Standard-A to Standard-B cable. They are still in use today.
USB 2.0 – Enhanced Speed
The USB 2.0 was the second version rolled out in 2000. This came with a massive jump of the transfer speed of 480Mbps, or 60Mbps. A major benefit was its compatibility with the original USB 1.1 standard. That means that even if your devices have a USB1.1 port, you can still plug a USB 2.0 device. But, this way it would work as per the 1.1 speed standards.
This time span was part of a major change for USB ports, as they started replacing optical media devices like CDs or DVDs. At the same time, users experienced the dawn of USB adapters, Wi-Fi adapter, Ethernet ports. And these devices could easily match the storage capacity with a smaller footprint as a USB drive. It also helped the Micro-A and Micro-B connectors releases, as they supported digital cameras and cell phones.
USB 3.1 Gen 1 – Speeding Things Really Up!
USB 3.1 provided a data transfer speed of 5.0 Gbps. The USB 3.1 version increased the bus power of 900 mW. Compared to USB 1.1 and USB 2.0 versions, speed used to be 500 mW! This support came with the new use cases in the industry. Users could handle giant video files, run an entire operating system on a USB 3.1 external hard drive. You can easily recognize these USB 3.1 with its blue trademark inside the connector.
USB 3.1 Gen 2 – Supporting SuperSpeed Data Transfer
With the advancement in USB, USB 3.1 Gen 2 brings us in present time. It doubled the data speed transfer capacity to 10Gbps. At present, we all majorly use this USB. Other than that, there are no other remarkable enhancements to note in this generation.
USB C – A New Era of USB Ports?
Many users seems to have confusion for this ‘type-c’ generation. USB type-C is a new connector and a USB port type. USB specifications like USB 1.1, 2.0, and 3.1 are a set of protocols that control how efficiently those USB connectors can pump data. In the most simplified manner, USB type-C is another connector type of USB 3.1. With type-c standard, USB adapters, ports, cables everything looks different than the previous generations. The good part is that this can be inserted in any direction which eliminates the port orientation. It offers the speed of 10Gbps on a single cable.
If we look at the upcoming events, USB Type-C is expecting to be the go-to standard that would end up streamline all of our connection needs. For instance, Apple, one plus three and other brands have started to support only USB-Type C connectors in their newly launched devices.
Apart from the USB ports, there are other options which have marked their presence in the market. If you make a list of all of your cloud services, there are Bluetooth, Wi-Fi direct replacing the wire-based data transfers. But then we think of speed. I am sure you will still use USB cables to transfer your heavy wedding videos and pictures to your friends. Why? Because wireless is still lagging at USB 2.0 speed standards. USB is here to stay, being the data transfer champion. As industry call it a one port revolution, USB Type-C is leading the charge already.