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USB: Universal Serial Bus Explained!

Priyank Gada's profile image

By: Priyank Gada

July 5, 2018

In this article, we are going to talk about USB, i.e., Universal Serial Bus. People might think it is easy to understand, which is not the case. USBs can be hard to understand, especially if we talk about types, i.e., USB Type A, USB Type B, USB Type C, etc.

USB: Universal Serial Bus

As we all know, USB stands for Universal Serial Bus. It is an industry standard that was developed to define cables, connectors, and protocols for connection, communication, and power supply between personal computers and their peripheral devices. USB standards were first released in 1996 and are maintained by the USB Implementers Forum, which is a non-profit organization created to promote and support USB - Universal Serial Bus. USB 0.8, 0.9, and 0.99 were released in December 1994 and mid-1995, and they were somewhat prereleases. Going from 5V 1.5 A max power in USB 1.0 to 20V 5A Max power in USB 3.0 version 1.1, we have progressed a lot.

Currently, there are three generations of USB Specifications:

  • USB 1.x
  • USB 2.x
  • USB 3.x

USB is further divided into various types, depending on the shape and size of the connector.

Type A

USB Type-A receptacle.svg

This is the standard USB Type A, also known as Standard-A, which is used in computers and pen drives and most HID devices like keyboards and mice.  USB Type A is the most standard port/type used in most devices like video game consoles, pen drives, DVRs, DVD players, etc.

USB Type-B receptacle.svg

This is the standard USB Type B, which is square in shape with slight rounding on each side. These types of ports are uncommon and are mostly used with storage devices like optical drives, hard drives, and even printers.

USB Mini-A receptacle.svg

These are the smaller versions of connectors also known as USB-mini. They were used in older smartphones and other electronic devices for charging.

USB Mini-B receptacle.svg

These are smaller versions as well, and like Mini-A, they were used in older smartphones and other devices for charging.


These are small and thin in shape, and they have a symmetrical, oval appearance. They're different from previous USBs and can be plugged both ways. Nowadays, these type-c ports are used with smartphones, flash drives, and other gadgets because of the speed that they provide.

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