USB, short for Universal Serial Bus, is an industry standard developed in the mid-1990s that defines the cables, connectors and communications protocols used in a bus for connection, communication, and power supply between computers and electronic devices. It is currently developed by the USB Implementers Forum (USB IF).

USB was designed to standardize the connection of computer peripherals (including keyboards, pointing devices, digital cameras, printers, portable media players, disk drives and network adapters) to personal computers, both to communicate and to supply electric power. It has become commonplace on other devices, such as smartphones, PDAs and video game consoles. USB has effectively replaced a variety of earlier interfaces, such as parallel ports, as well as separate power chargers for portable devices.

Overview

In general, there are three basic formats of USB connectors: the default or standard format intended for desktop or portable equipment (for example, on USB flash drives), the mini intended for mobile equipment (now deprecated except the Mini-B, which is used on many cameras), and the thinner micro size, for low-profile mobile equipment (most modern mobile phones). Also, there are 5 modes of USB data transfer, in order of increasing bandwidth: Low Speed (from 1.0), Full Speed (from 1.0), High Speed (from 2.0), SuperSpeed (from 3.0), and SuperSpeed+ (from 3.1); modes have differing hardware and cabling requirements. USB devices have some choice of implemented modes, and USB version is not a reliable statement of implemented modes. Modes are identified by their names and icons, and the specifications suggests that plugs and receptacles be colour-coded (SuperSpeed is identified by blue).

Unlike other data buses (e.g., Ethernet, HDMI), USB connections are directed, with both upstream and downstream ports emanating from a single host. This applies to electrical power, with only downstream facing ports providing power; this topology was chosen to easily prevent electrical overloads and damaged equipment. Thus, USB cables have different ends: A and B, with different physical connectors for each. Therefore, in general, each different format requires four different connectors: a plug and receptacle for each of the A and B ends. USB cables have the plugs, and the corresponding receptacles are on the computers or electronic devices. In common practice, the A end is usually the standard format, and the B side can varies over standard, mini, and micro. The mini and micro formats also provide for USB On-The-Go with a hermaphroditic AB receptacle, which accepts either an A or a B plug. On-the-Go allows USB between peers without discarding the directed topology by choosing the host at connection time; it also allows one receptacle to perform double duty in space-constrained applications.

There are cables with A plugs on both ends, which may be valid if the cable includes, for example, a USB host-to-host transfer device with 2 ports, but they could also be non-standard and erroneous and should be used carefully.

Non-obviously, the micro format is the most durable from the point of designed insertion lifetime. The standard and mini connectors were designed for less frequently than daily connections, with a design lifetime of 1,500 insertion-removal cycles.[7] (Improved Mini-B connectors have reached 5,000-cycle lifetimes.) Micro connectors were designed with frequent charging of portable devices in mind; not only is design lifetime of the connector improved to 10,000 cycles, but it was also redesigned to place the flexible contacts, which wear out sooner, on the easily replaced cable, while the more durable rigid contacts are located in the receptacles. Likewise, the springy component of the retention mechanism (parts that provide required gripping force) were also moved into plugs on the cable side.

History

USB基本标志

A group of seven companies began the development of USB in 1994: Compaq, DEC, IBM, Intel, Microsoft, NEC, and Nortel. The goal was to make it fundamentally easier to connect external devices to PCs by replacing the multitude of connectors at the back of PCs, addressing the usability issues of existing interfaces, and simplifying software configuration of all devices connected to USB, as well as permitting greater data rates for external devices. A team including Ajay Bhatt worked on the standard at Intel; the first integrated circuits supporting USB were produced by Intel in 1995.

USB logo on the head of a standard A plug, the most common USB plug

The original USB 1.0 specification, which was introduced in January 1996, defined data transfer rates of 1.5 Mbit/s Low Speed and 12 Mbit/s Full Speed. Microsoft Windows 95, OSR 2.1 provided OEM support for the devices. The first widely used version of USB was 1.1, which was released in September 1998. The 12 Mbit/s data rate was intended for higher-speed devices such as disk drives, and the lower 1.5 Mbit/s rate for low data rate devices such as joysticks. Apple Inc.'s iMac was the first mainstream product with USB and the iMac's success popularized USB itself. Following Apple's design decision to remove all legacy ports from the iMac, many PC manufacturers began building legacy-free PCs, which led to the broader PC market using USB as a standard.

The USB 2.0 specification was released in April 2000 and was ratified by the USB Implementers Forum (USB-IF) at the end of 2001. Hewlett-Packard, Intel, Lucent Technologies (now Alcatel-Lucent), NEC, and Philips jointly led the initiative to develop a higher data transfer rate, with the resulting specification achieving 480 Mbit/s, a 40-times increase over the original USB 1.1 specification.

The USB 3.0 specification was published on 12 November 2008. Its main goals were to increase the data transfer rate (up to 5 Gbit/s), decrease power consumption, increase power output, and be backward compatible with USB 2.0. USB 3.0 includes a new, higher speed bus called SuperSpeed in parallel with the USB 2.0 bus.For this reason, the new version is also called SuperSpeed. The first USB 3.0 equipped devices were presented in January 2010.

As of 2008, approximately 6 billion USB ports and interfaces were in the global marketplace, and about 2 billion were being sold each year.

In December 2014, USB-IF submitted USB 3.1, USB Power Delivery 2.0 and USB Type-C specifications to the IEC (TC 100 – Audio, video and multimedia systems and equipment) for inclusion in the international standard IEC 62680 Universal Serial Bus interfaces for data and power, which is currently based on USB 2.0.

Version history

Overview

Release name Release date Maximum transfer rate Note
USB 0.8 December 1994 Prerelease
USB 0.9 April 1995 Prerelease
USB 0.99 August 1995 Prerelease
USB 1.0 Release Candidate November 1995 Prerelease
USB 1.0 January 1996 Low Speed (1.5 Mbit/s), Full Speed (12 Mbit/s)
USB 1.1 August 1998
USB 2.0 April 2000 High Speed (480 Mbit/s)
USB 3.0 November 2008 SuperSpeed (5 Gbit/s) Also referred to as USB 3.1 Gen 1 by USB 3.1 standard
USB 3.1 July 2013 SuperSpeed+ (10 Gbit/s) Also referred to as USB 3.1 Gen 2 by USB 3.1 standard
Release name Release date Max. power Note
USB Battery Charging 1.0 2007-03-08 5 V, 1.5 A
USB Battery Charging 1.1 2009-04-15
USB Battery Charging 1.2 2010-12-07
USB Power Delivery revision 1.0 (version 1.0) 2012-07-05 20 V, 5 A Using FSK protocol over bus power (VBUS)
USB Power Delivery revision 1.0 (version 1.3) 2014-03-11
USB Type-C 1.0 2014-08-11 5 V, 3 A New connector and cable specification
USB Power Delivery revision 2.0 (version 1.0) 2014-08-11 20 V, 5 A Using BMC protocol over communication channel (CC) on type-C cables.
USB Type-C 1.1 2015-04-03 5 V, 3 A
USB Power Delivery revision 2.0 (version 1.1) 2015-05-07 20 V, 5 A
USB Power Delivery revision 2.0 (version 1.2) 2016-03-25 20 V, 5 A

USB 1.x

Released in January 1996, USB 1.0 specified data rates of 1.5 Mbit/s (Low Bandwidth or Low Speed) and 12 Mbit/s (Full Bandwidth or Full Speed). It did not allow for extension cables or pass-through monitors, due to timing and power limitations. Few USB devices made it to the market until USB 1.1 was released in August 1998, fixing problems identified in 1.0, mostly related to using hubs. USB 1.1 was the earliest revision that was widely adopted and led to Legacy-free PCs.

USB 2.0

The Hi-Speed USB Logo

A USB 2.0 PCI expansion card USB 2.0 was released in April 2000, adding a higher maximum signaling rate of 480 Mbit/s (High Speed or High Bandwidth), in addition to the USB 1.x Full Speed signaling rate of 12 Mbit/s. Due to bus access constraints, the effective throughput of the High Speed signaling rate is limited to 280 Mbit/s or 35 MB/s.

Further modifications to the USB specification have been made via Engineering Change Notices (ECN). The most important of these ECNs are included into the USB 2.0 specification package available from USB.org

Mini-A and Mini-B Connector ECN: Released in October 2000. Specifications for Mini-A and Mini-B plug and receptacle. Also receptacle that accepts both plugs for On-The-Go. These should not be confused with Micro-B plug and receptacle. Pull-up/Pull-down Resistors ECN: Released in May 2002 Interface Associations ECN: Released in May 2003. New standard descriptor was added that allows associating multiple interfaces with a single device function. Rounded Chamfer ECN: Released in October 2003. A recommended, backward compatible change to Mini-B plugs that results in longer lasting connectors. Unicode ECN: Released in February 2005. This ECN specifies that strings are encoded using UTF-16LE. USB 2.0 specified Unicode, but did not specify the encoding. Inter-Chip USB Supplement: Released in March 2006 On-The-Go Supplement 1.3: Released in December 2006. USB On-The-Go makes it possible for two USB devices to communicate with each other without requiring a separate USB host. In practice, one of the USB devices acts as a host for the other device. Battery Charging Specification 1.1: Released in March 2007 and updated on 15 April 2009. Adds support for dedicated chargers (power supplies with USB connectors), host chargers (USB hosts that can act as chargers) and the No Dead Battery provision, which allows devices to temporarily draw 100 mA current after they have been attached. If a USB device is connected to a dedicated charger, maximum current drawn by the device may be as high as 1.8 A. (Note that this document is not distributed with USB 2.0 specification package, only USB 3.0 and USB On-The-Go.) Micro-USB Cables and Connectors Specification 1.01: Released in April 2007. Link Power Management Addendum ECN: Released in July 2007. This adds sleep, a new power state between enabled and suspended states. Device in this state is not required to reduce its power consumption. However, switching between enabled and sleep states is much faster than switching between enabled and suspended states, which allows devices to sleep while idle. Battery Charging Specification 1.2 Released in December 2010. Several changes and increasing limits including allowing 1.5 A on charging ports for unconfigured devices, allowing High Speed communication while having a current up to 1.5 A and allowing a maximum current of 5 A.

USB 3.0

Main article: USB 3.0

The SuperSpeed USB logo. USB 3.0 specification was released on 12 November 2008, with its management transferring from USB 3.0 Promoter Group to the USB Implementers Forum (USB-IF), and announced on 17 November 2008 at the SuperSpeed USB Developers Conference.[29]

USB 3.0 defines a new SuperSpeed transfer mode, with associated new backwards-compatible plugs, receptacles, and cables. SuperSpeed plugs and receptacles are identified with the logo, and, also, blue inserts in standard format receptacles.

The new SuperSpeed mode provides a data signaling rate of 5.0 Gbit/s. The payload throughput is 4 Gbit/s[citation needed] (due to the overhead incurred by 8b/10b encoding), and the specification considers it reasonable to achieve around 3.2 Gbit/s (0.4 GB/s or 400 MB/s), which should increase with future hardware advances. Communication is full-duplex in SuperSpeed transfer mode; earlier modes are half-duplex, arbitrated by the host.[30]

Low-power and high-power devices remain, but those using SuperSpeed gain increased current of 150 mA and 900 mA, respectively.[31] Additionally, there is a Battery Charging Specification (Version 1.2 – December 2010), which increases the power handling capability to 1.5 A but does not allow concurrent data transmission.[28] The Battery Charging Specification requires that the physical ports themselves be capable of handling 5 A of current[citation needed] but limits the maximum current drawn to 1.5 A.

USB 3.1

A January 2013 press release from the USB group revealed plans to update USB 3.0 to 10 Gbit/s.[32] The group ended up creating a new USB specification, USB 3.1, which was released on 31 July 2013,[33] replacing USB 3.0 standard. USB 3.1 specification takes over existing USB 3.0's SuperSpeed USB transfer rate, also referred to as USB 3.1 Gen 1, and introduces a faster transfer rate called SuperSpeed USB 10 Gbps, also referred to as USB 3.1 Gen 2,[25] putting it on par with a single first-generation Thunderbolt channel. The new mode's logo features a caption stylized as SUPERSPEED+. The USB 3.1 standard increases the data signaling rate to 10 Gbit/s, double that of SuperSpeed USB, and reduces line encoding overhead to just 3% by changing the encoding scheme to 128b/132b.[34] The first USB 3.1 implementation demonstrated transfer speeds of 7.2 Gbit/s.[35]

The USB 3.1 standard is backward compatible with USB 3.0 and USB 2.0.

USB Type-C

The USB Type-C plug Developed at roughly the same time as the USB 3.1 specification, but distinct from it, the USB Type-C Specification 1.0 was finalized in August 2014[36] and defines a new small reversible-plug connector for USB devices.[37] The Type-C plug connects to both hosts and devices, replacing various Type-A and Type-B connectors and cables with a standard meant to be future-proof, similar to Apple Lightning and Thunderbolt.[36][38] The 24-pin double-sided connector provides four power-ground pairs, two differential pairs for USB 2.0 data bus (though only one pair is implemented in a Type-C cable), four pairs for high-speed data bus, two “sideband use” pins, and two configuration pins for cable orientation detection, dedicated biphase mark code (BMC) configuration data channel, and VCONN +5 V power for active cables.[39][40] Type-A and Type-B adaptors and cables are required for older devices to plug into Type-C hosts. Adapters and cables with a Type-C receptacle are not allowed.

Full-featured USB Type-C cables are active, electronically marked cables that contain a chip with an ID function based on the configuration data channel and vendor-defined messages (VDMs) from the USB Power Delivery 2.0 specification. USB Type-C devices also support power currents of 1.5 A and 3.0 A over the 5 V power bus in addition to baseline 900 mA; devices can either negotiate increased USB current through the configuration line, or they can support the full Power Delivery specification using both BMC-coded configuration line and legacy BFSK-coded VBUS line.

Alternate Mode dedicates some of the physical wires in the Type-C cable for direct device-to-host transmission of alternate data protocols. The four high-speed lanes, two sideband pins, and—​​for dock, detachable device and permanent cable applications only—​​two USB 2.0 pins and one configuration pin can be used for Alternate Mode transmission. The modes are configured using VDMs through the configuration channel.