USB, what is it and what is it for?

USB, what is it and what is it for?  one

Here the computer , here the keyboard . Nice to meet. And wanting to start working together. But how? It is not enough to introduce them. You have to connect them. And yes, cables are still used in many cases. In the past, each of these computer accessories had a cable terminated in a different connection. The keyboard , a cable end. The mouse , another. The printer , your own. Fortunately, in 1996 they joined 685 companies around the world to create a unique type of connection for all peripherals (keyboard, mouse, printer, etc.). The objective? thanall will connect with the same type of plug. More than anything because that way you would only have to place several identical inputs on the computer. This is where the USB ( Universal Serial Bus ) standard was born  , which, paraphrasing Alexander Dumas, was born under the motto “One for all and all for one”.

Today USB connections have transcended the world of computing. The televisions carry USB inputs . So we can connect a hard drive or a memory stick with photos or music and play them on TV . The most advanced ones are also capable of playing movies or even using those external hard drives and those pencils to record TV shows. And, all, thanks to the fact that they are understood through a USB connection  . The latest living room DVD and Blu Ray equipment can not be understood without a USB connector . Thanks to these inputs, we expand the possibilities ofcurrent videos . These computers also allow us to see and record video, play music or watch the photos we carry on a memory stick on TV .


Like the Teles or videos , many cameras are connected by USB to the TV or the computer. The phones, the tablets take inputs USB for file exchange or recharge the battery. The USB inputs have also reached the car radio of the car to listen to music, the video game console or the most technological toys .

It is clear that USB is entering all household appliances. Perhaps for this reason , small memory sticks and external hard drives with USB connection , are the teams that now prefer to take music, photos or videos anywhere. They are like the CDs or DVDs that we used in the last century, but with much more capacity and with the advantage that they can be connected to almost any screen in the home . According  to Jeff Ravencraft skilled company Intel in USB , in 2008 there were more or less, 6,000 million devices in the world with USB connection and, every year, 2,000 million more are sold .

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The  USB , in a way, reminds me of the light plugs. They are everywhere and serve to  connect almost everything . You could say that  USB is the plug of gadgets and appliances. Today (almost) everyone ends up like this. With a rectangular block that has a small hole, ready to connect to the  computerthe TV, the  video, the  console, the  camera or the  mobile phone . And, above all, with  USB everything works instantly.

If we are talking about a computer, it does not matter that we plug in a  keyboard or a  mouse . A  printer or a  webcam for video conferencing. And, it does not matter if the computer is Windows or Mac . The USB connection  is already a universal standard and works like a charm.

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USB speed

With the first USB standard ( 1.0 ) approved in the 1990s , the connection was sufficient to connect a mouse , keyboard, or simple camera to the computer , but it was too slow to exchange files or play high-quality video. . Information was moving at a maximum speed of  1.5 Mbps (192 KB / s) . To get an idea, with this connection USB 1.0 took us almost six hours to pass a film HD (Internet format) to the computer.

But the USB did not stay at that point. Every few years it is renewed with faster versions. Versions that increase the speed at which data can travel through these USB cables . The 1.0 standard was succeeded by USB 1.1 which improved the speed up to  12 Mbps (1.5 MB / s) . Here, the six hours to show the film were just over 44 minutes .

Today, the most widespread standard is USB 2.0 , a format that transmits data at a speed of 125Mbps (16MB / s) and allows, for example, to pass that movie in high definition in  4 minutes . The next step in improving the speed of USB connections came last year with USB 3.0 . It is ten times faster than the current 2.0 and reaches speeds of  4.8 Gbps (600 MB / s) and could achieve a record transferring the same movie in just over six seconds. All of these speed measurements are theoretical. In practice they can vary.

In  2012 , most of the computers already have the USB 3.0 port . A renewed version of this connection that reduces the waiting time for any operation. Of course, when buying a gadget that has a USB 3.0 output, we  must assess whether we have a computer already adapted to the most current format. And in any case, a USB 3.0 cable also works in a USB 2.0 computer input . Although, of course, in that case at the speed of 2.0.

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USB, miniUSB and microUSB, the three musketeers of digital connections

At the end of the cable, the end that must be connected to the computer is this USB that we discussed. But at the other end of the cable we can find two variants. The difference between the two is size. One of them is called  mini USB and the other is quite similar and is known as micro USB. Mini USB is most often found in cameras, music players, external hard drives, and other small gadgets.

For its part, the micro USB appears in almost all smart mobile phones. Thanks to this connection, we can pass a school work from the computer to the printer to print it, for example. Or that the keys that we gently press on the keyboard, become words written in the email we are writing. And it is that this USB cable transmits data. Which can be photos, videos, texts, or a drawing . But the USB cable is not only used for the devices that we connect to the computer to work. The USB cable also allows a small electrical current to be passed to the device on duty .In this way, the cable USB can be used to charge the battery .

This has been so practical, that the European Union, in late 2010 , approved legislation that would require that all mobile phones will have a micro USB port that serves to charge the battery . In this way, since last year, all mobiles come with a universal charger with this port, ending the problem of having a different power supply for each mobile.

Oh by the way. In case anyone has been left with the doubt. USB stands for Universal Serial Bus (in Castilian, Bus Universal Serial ). For what we care, it is one of those inventions that makes our lives easier. One of those inventions that allows us to take all kinds of digital files, including photos, videos or music , anywhere and to any screen .