|Mr. Fixit's PC Upgrade and Repair
The Universal Serial Bus (USB) was developed in 1996 by Compaq (now HP), DEC, IBM, Intel, Microsoft, NEC, and Nortel. The technology allowed the
reduction of bulky connectors on the back of the PC. This eliminated the Serial ports (a.k.a. COM ports), the Joystick port, and the Parallel Printer port. The
technology became the standardization for all peripherals, simplified software configurations, and permitted higher data transfer speeds.
USB 1.0 was released in 1996 that could transfer data at 1.5Mbps (Low Speed) or 12Mbps (Full Speed) depending on the device that was connected. There
were problems with the USB 1.0 version that led to the release of USB 1.1 in 1998. Few devices were ever made for USB 1.0.
USB 1.1 fixed many of the issues that plagued the original version. With USB 1.1, you could now use extension cables and USB Hubs. USB 1.1 also provided
up to 500 mA per port to power connected devices.
USB 2.0 was the next big change in USB technology when it was released in 2000. The data transfer rate had increased from 12Mbps to 480Mbps when in
HI-SPEED mode. Most devices only transfer data at 12Mbps (Full Speed) and the devices that support 480Mbps (HI-SPEED) are labeled as Hi-Speed USB
2.0. This version is backward compatible with USB 1.1.
USB 3.0 is the 3rd generation in USB technology when it was released in 2008. There were major changes in this version. It can transfer data up to 5Gbps
(500 MBps) and provide up to 1.5 A of power to the connected device giving it the title 'SuperSpeed'. Unlike USB 1.x and 2.0, USB 3.0 can Send and Receive
data simultaneously. The technology now has the ability to power devices like an external HDD without the need for a separate power connector or you can
use it to charge mobile devices. To help destinguish a USB 3.0 from a USB 1.x/2.0, the USB 3.0 connectors are blue. The technology is backward compatible
to USB 2.0, but you may need an adapter. USB 3.1 was released in 2013 that achieved 10Gbps to match Apples Thunderbolt.
You may soon find a USB Type-C on your computer. It was released in 2013 that uses a universal plug to eliminate the need for USB-A and USB-B plugs. It
also stops the need to observe the orientation of the plug before you can plug in the cable. To ensure backward compatibility to older devices, you can use an
adapter that will convert the USB Type-C into a USB-A or -B plug. The technology is currently being used in Apple's new MacBooks