In terms of transfer rates, for perspective, the USB 1.0 specification introduced in 1996 offered a maximum data transfer rate of 12 Megabits per second (Mbps). USB 2.0 maxes out at 480 Mbps. However, USB 3.0, 3.1, and 3.2 can be confusing to the user. Let’s break it down.
|USB version||Issue Date||Marketing Term||Bits/Sec||Power Delivery||USB Symbol||Port/Cable symbol||USB Charging symbol|
|USB 1.0||Jan 1996||Low Speed||1.5 Mbps||5V/500mA|
|USB 1.1||Aug 1998||Full Speed with Updated||1.5 Mbps/12 Mbps||5V/500mA|
|USB 2.0||April 2000||High Speed||480 Mbps||2.5W (Max)|
|USB 3.2 Gen1x1
(was USB 3.0)
|Nov 2008||SuperSpeed USB 5Gbps||5Gbps||4.5W (Max)|
|USB 3.2 Gen2x1
(was USB 3.1)
|July 2013||SuperSpeed USB 10Gbps||10Gbps||100W (Max)|
|USB 3.2 Gen2x2
(was USB 3.2)
|Sep 2017||SuperSpeed USB 20Gbps||20Gbps||100W (Max), USB Type-C connector Only|
|USB4 Gen 2x2
(was USB 4)
|Sep 2019||USB4 20Gbps||20Gbps||100W (Max), USB Type-C connector Only|
|USB4 Gen 3x2
(was USB 4)
|Sep 2019||USB4 40Gbps||40Gbps||100W (Max), USB Type-C connector Only|
Table (1) USB specification summary
The USB 3.2 specification replaces the USB 3.x specification and introduces a new nomenclature. USB 3.2 defines the following connection speeds:
The USB 3.2 protocol specification only defines the performance capabilities that may be implemented in a product; USB 3.2 is not USB Type-C, USB Standard-A, Micro-USB, or any other USB cable or connector and USB 3.2 is not USB Power Delivery or USB Battery Charging.
Figure (1) USB connectors
In the past, USB only transmitted data; however, the Type-C connector is designed to contain the data, power, and video transmission. Let’s take a look at what functions USB Type-C supports.
The latest power delivery specification is PD3.0. The major difference between PD2.0 and PD3.0 is Programmable Power Suppliers (PPS) mode; many different devices might be plugged into a given PD charger, but PD is universal. Thus, the PPS approach demands that the sink side be smarter for fast charging, and also be compatible with QC 3.0/4.0/4.0+; MTK Pump Express (PE) 2.0/3.0; and Samsung Adaptive Fast Charging (AFC).
|Charging Technology||USB PD 3.0||QC4+/4/3.0||Samsung|
|Output Current||5A max (Via EMCA)||2.6A/4.6A||2A/5A|
|Protocol||USB PD||Quick Charge||Adapting Fast Charging USB PD 3.0|
|USB PD3.0 Compatible|
Table (2) Power Delivery Specifications
Another important feature of PD 3.0 technology is Fast Role Swap (FRS), where a device that is providing power can quickly change its power role from the Sink to Source and the Hub dual-role port starts sinking power. The USB accessory flash drive and monitor continue functioning during the FRS event; FRS helps to prevent any data loss that may occur when the Hub upstream facing port (UFP) power is unexpectedly removed from a device. FRS improved the data loss inherent in PD 2.0.
Here are important PD features:
The USB-C connector is available at both ends or at just one end of the cable for the specifications below:
You can use an USB Type-C male to USB A type female adapter to connect an existing product; nevertheless, you will remain at the existing data speed or even lower due to the insertion loss occur between the adapter and cable. For example: If an old USB external hard drive uses USB A/M to USB Micro B/M cable, data speed may be lower. Use a USB 3.1 Cable - Type C Male to USB 3.2 Gen2x1 Micro B cable instead of a Type-C adapter to ensure full-speed data transmission.
USB Type-C has multiple functions; yet, your device may not include the full USB type-C functions.
The USB-IF, VESA, and Intel defined the logo usage guidelines to explain the USB-C technology inside.
If you see the trident is enclosed in a battery shape, it means the USB-C connector enables power delivery (PD).
Below is an example of a USB3.2 Gen1x1 Type-C + PD. with charging function, 5 Gbps maximum transmission speed.
The USB Type-C charging logo next to the type C connector means the port can be power charged.
Not all devices include a symbol on the product to help you identify the USB-C technology inside. A USB-C interface is common in MacBook and Chromebook computers. Usually, the USB-C interface supports charging and data transfer, and provides video signal output; but, we still recommend reading your product spec sheet to know your device’s USB-C features.
USB-Type C only describes the physical connector. USB Type-C is not the same thing as USB 3.2 or USB 3.1, so knowing the Type-C technology inside your source devices is important.
USB-Type C offers data transfer, power charges devices, and transmits video. All of these functions are performed by just one cable. For the cable to bear a maximum of 20 volts at 5 amps (100 W) power, it is important to use a quality USB-Type C cable.
USB4 will be available only for USB-C ports. USB4 Type-C will support Thunderbolt 3/4 and also includes a PCIe function. More USB4 devices will be launched in 2021, so you may see USB4 Type-C devices on your desk and in your backpack very soon.
USB-C Adapter Cables
|VA-USBC31-DVID-003||USB-C to DVI-D Adapter Cables, 3FT|
|VA-USBC31-DVID-006||USB-C to DVI-D Adapter Cables, 6FT|
|VA-USBC31-DVID-010||USB-C to DVI-D Adapter Cables, 10FT|
|VA-USBC31-DP12-003||USB-C to DisplayPort (standard locking type connector) Adapter Cables, 4K60, 3FT|
|VA-USBC31-DP12-006||USB-C to DisplayPort (standard locking type connector) Adapter Cables, 4K60, 6FT|
|VA-USBC31-DP12-010||USB-C to DisplayPort (standard locking type connector) Adapter Cables, 4K60, 10FT|
|VA-USBC31-HDMI4K-003||Type-C to HDMI(4K/60Hz) M Cable with HDR-3ft|
|VA-USBC31-HDMI4K-006||Type-C to HDMI(4K/60Hz) M Cable with HDR-6ft|
|VA-USBC31-HDMI4K-010||Type-C to HDMI(4K/60Hz) M Cable with HDR-10ft|
|VA-USBC31-HDMI4K-016||USB-C to HDMI Adapter Cables, 4K60, 16FT|
|VA-USBC31-VGA-003||USB-C to VGA Adapter Cables, 3FT|
|VA-USBC31-VGA-006||USB-C to VGA Adapter Cables, 6FT|
|VA-USBC31-VGA-009||USB-C to VGA Adapter Cables, 9FT|
|USB-C Adapter Dongles|
|VA-USBC31-RJ45C||Type-C to RJ45+Type-C PD Charging, 100W|
|VA-USBC31-DP4KC||Type-C to DisplayPort adapter, PD60W, DisplayPort 1.2 Alt Mode, 4K60|
|VA-USBC31-VGAC||Type-C to VGA/PD, PD 60W, ABS housing, DisplayPort 1.2 Alt Mode, Per Lane Data Rates up to 5.4Gbps (HBR2), 1920x1200 @ 60Hz|
|VA-USBC31-DVIC||Type-C to DVI/PD, PD 60W, ABS housing, DisplayPort 1.2 Alt Mode, 1080p60|
|VA-USBC31-HD4KC||Type-C to HDMI(4K/60Hz)/Type-C PD Charging, Aluminium housing, PD 100W|
|VA-USBC31-RJ45||Gigabit Adapter Dongle - USB 3.1 Type C Male to RJ-45|
|USB3.2 Gen2x1 (was USB 3.1) Cable|
|USB3C10G-1M||Type C Male to USB 3.1 Type C Male, 10-Gbps, 1-m|
|USBC2MICRO-1M||USB 3.1 Cable - Type C Male to USB 2.0 Micro, 1-m|
|USB3C-1M||USB 3.1 Cable - Type C Male to USB 3.0 Type A Male, 5-Gbps, 1-m|
|USB3C5G-1M||USB 3.1 Cable - Type C Male to USB 3.0 Micro B, 5-Gpbs, 1-m|
|USB3CB-1M||USB 3.1 Cable - Type C Male to USB 3.0 Type B Male, 1-m|
|USBC2TYPEB-1M||USB 3.1 Cable - Type C Male to USB 2.0 Type B Male, 1-m|
|USBC2MINI-2M||USB 3.1 Cable - Type C Male to USB 2.0 Mini B, 2-m|
|USBC2TYPEB-2M||USB 3.1 Cable - Type C Male to USB 2.0 Type B Male, 2-m|
|USB-C Docking Station|
|USBC2000||USB C Docking Station|
|USBC2000 4KDUAL||USB-C 4K 230W Docking Station|
|USB-C Industrial Cable|
|IC1103A||USB-C to DB9 Adapter – 5-ft. (1.5-m) Convert USB-C data to serial RS-232 data|
|IC1102A||USB-C to RJ-45 Serial Adapter, 6-ft. (1.8-m)
Convert USB-C data to serial RS-232 data
About the Author
George Liu has 12 years’ experience in the cabling, data, and video connectivity industry. As a Project and Product Manager at Black Box, he works directly with domestic and international OEM suppliers on new product launches. George is a certified PMP and CQE, and he is a master’s candidate in the industrial management program at National Taiwan University of Science and Technology.