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The Development of the USB Interface Standard

Nov. 04, 2021

The past 20 years have been called the two decades of pushing the boundaries of innovation, and for good reason. During this period, new technologies and products have been introduced one after another, reaching unprecedented heights. AIKE Electronics recognizes that disruptive technologies have a significant impact on current state-of-the-art products and that we need to respond appropriately to market demands and continuously improve systems and components. Let's talk about how the specification of the USB interface was created.

Connectors of the past

For many years, 15 and 25 pin D-sub connectors were able to provide sufficient I/O transfer data rates for peripheral devices. These mil-spec connectors originated in military applications and have reliable pin pin and socket connection points, as well as rugged housings.

People modified these mil-spec connectors into commercial versions and adjusted the price to consumer level, making them the de facto standard for consumer products, and they are now widely used in products such as video and computer accessories. However, as the demand for data rates increased from the kilobit level to the megabit level, the space available for external interconnections of these older connectors decreased, necessitating new connector interfaces.

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The Emergence of USB

In 1996, the USB-IF organization, consisting of electronics industry leaders and consortia, was born and released the first generation of USB interfaces. The first version released was an improved USB 1.1 specification designed to replace the then array interface, which had a detrimental effect on compatibility between extended peripheral devices, which included flash and external hard drives, scanners, and printers, among others. The connection is via a relatively small rectangular connector with an initial transfer rate of 1.5Mb/s, using a low insertion force connection with approximately thousands of cycles, but can only be unplugged in one direction.

A major advantage of the USB standard is the ability to transmit power and signals simultaneously, allowing remote devices to operate without external power. The ability to be "hot-plugged" is another key feature of the USB interface.

Not content with the current standard, the USB-IF released the USB 4 specification in September 2019. USB 4 is backward compatible with the USB Type-C protocol, including USB 3.2, DisplayPort and Thunderbolt 3, simplifying connectivity for a whole new generation of devices. Devices with this new interface are expected to be available by 2021.

There will be better developments in the future. We sell USB and HDMI connectors and cables, so feel free to contact us if you need a cable for your computer and phone.

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