Home Tech Everything You Need to Know About USB Ports and Speeds (2024)

Everything You Need to Know About USB Ports and Speeds (2024)

by Editorial Staff
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The title itself, Common Serial Bus (or USB), is an formidable promise: one port to rule all of them. The fact, sadly, is dirtier. These days, your cellphone, pill, and laptop computer could all use the identical USB-C port for charging and information switch, however they could all work in several methods.

What’s USB4? What’s Thunderbolt? Is it the identical as USB-C? I am right here to assist reply all of those questions so you will get the most effective efficiency out of your gadgets.

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Glossary of USB phrases

First, it is necessary to outline a couple of phrases prematurely.


Each USB system is constructed in keeping with some model of the USB specification, which is managed by the USB Builders Discussion board (USB-IF). These variations are primarily characterised by how a lot information they’ll switch and the way a lot energy they’ll present (not less than that is the principle factor you have to care about). Whereas most of those gadgets are suitable so long as they use the identical port kind, the complete chain will match the slowest a part of the chain. To illustrate you plug a USB 3.2 solid-state drive right into a USB 3.2 port in your pc, however you are utilizing a USB 3.0 cable – information will solely switch at USB 3.0 speeds. Make certain each hyperlink in your chain is rated for the pace you want.

USB Energy Supply (or USB-PD)

As a substitute of carrying round a charger for each system you personal, you’ll be able to go for a charging adapter that may cost a number of gadgets via a number of USB-C Energy Supply (USB-C PD) ports. Energy Supply is a quick charging methodology that helps as much as 240W and permits devices to securely speak to chargers to find out the right energy wants. You will additionally discover ports like this on USB hubs, that are typically referred to as “via charging,” though that is not the official time period.

Make certain the USB-C port on the charging adapter or hub meets the ability necessities of your system. The MacBook Professional sometimes wants 96W throughout heavy workloads (although you’ll be able to nonetheless cost it at decrease energy), so you may most likely want a 100W USB-C port on a charging adapter or USB hub for higher charging.


These phrases check with the bodily type of connectors and ports on gadgets. USB-C is widespread and appears like a small elongated oval. It is also reversible, so you’ll be able to’t plug it within the incorrect manner. USB-A is the older rectangular port that you’ve got seen for years. There are various extra sorts of USB connectors, however these are the 2 you may see most frequently in charging adapters, hubs, and docking stations at present.

Tremendous pace

You might also see some USB gadgets bought with phrases like “SuperSpeed,” “SuperSpeedPlus,” and “SuperSpeed ​​USB 5/10/20 Gbps.” Initially, these phrases had been meant to be extra helpful, marketable labels to point the technology or pace of a USB port, however sadly this solely made issues extra complicated. Most often, you’ll be able to ignore these labels and take a look at the precise pace readings.

What is occurring with USB generations?

It could be good in case you might plug a USB 3.2 system right into a USB 3.2 port with a USB 3.2 cable and belief that every part works. Sadly, it is rather more sophisticated than that.

When USB 3.0 got here out in 2008, its most pace was round 5 gigabits per second (Gbps). Nonetheless, when USB 3.1 got here out in 2013 with a most pace of 10 Gbps, the 5 Gbps model was renamed USB 3.1 technology 1, whereas the newer, sooner specification was USB 3.1 Era 2. Nonetheless confused? Properly, it will get worse.

After the arrival of USB 3.2 in 2019, USB 5 Gb/s was renamed once more to “USB 3.2 Gen 1,” the ten Gb/s model grew to become “USB 3.2 Gen 2,” and the brand new 20 Gb/s spec grew to become—you guessed it—USB 3.2 Gen 2×2. Wait, what? “2×2” refers to simultaneous information switch over two 10 Gbps lanes. You needn’t know all that. Many producers of USB hubs and docking stations have deserted names, labels and symbols. They began printing the utmost pace proper subsequent to the ports.

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