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What does USB mean?

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That means USB
These USB standards exist
These types of USB connectors are available

Have you always wondered what the abbreviation USB actually means? We'll explain it to you..

image image

Image: <span> takayuki / Shutterstock.com </span>

Almost everyone has had a USB stick in their hand at some point. Most digital devices have a USB port or a USB cable. This is usually used to transfer data or electricity if the device is connected to a power supply unit via a USB cable for charging. In this article you can find out exactly what "USB" is all about and which USB standards are available.

That means USB

The abbreviation USB stands for "Universal Serial Bus", it is a so-called serial bus system. This means that data is transferred with it, bit for bit (serially). You can connect external hard drives, USB sticks, keyboards or your smartphone to your computer via USB - USB can be used universally. Data is then transferred between the external devices and the PC via the USB connections on your PC. The external devices are also called peripheral devices.

These USB standards exist

USB is constantly evolving. There are various USB standards that differ in the transfer rate of data and power. The following table lists the standards:

default year Data transfer rate (maximum)
USB 1.0
1996 could transfer 12,000 data bits per second (12 Mbit / s)
USB 2.0
2000 480 Mbit / s
USB 3.0
2008 5 GBit / s, i.e. 5 billion bits per second
USB 3.1
2013 10 GBit / s
USB 3.2
2017 20 GBit / s
USB 4
2019 40 GBit / s
Standard Jahr Datenübertragungsrate (maximal)
USB 1.0
1996 konnte 12.000 Daten-Bits pro Sekunde übertragen (12 MBit/s)
USB 2.0
2000 480 MBit/s
USB 3.0
2008 5 GBit/s, also pro Sekunde 5 Milliarden Bits
USB 3.1
2013 10 GBit/s
USB 3.2
2017 20 GBit/s
USB 4
2019 40 GBit/s

These types of USB connectors are available

The numbered USB standards differ in the data transfer rate. But there are also different USB plugs and sockets, which are identified with letters. The USB connections on PCs and power packs are suitable for connector type A. This is the most common type of plug that can be found on cell phone charging cables and USB sticks, for example.

Many external devices, such as smartphones or cameras, have different connections. These are usually suitable for the USB connector type B or the modern type C. They have a cable so that they can be connected to PCs or power packs with type A plug. Appropriate adapters are available for devices that do not have their own USB interface or a USB connector..

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USB-C is currently the most modern USB connector type.

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