What are USB cables?
Universal Serial Bus (USB) is a high-speed plug-n-play serial interface designed to connect computers and peripherals faster and easier. Standard USB cables for USB 2.0 are 5.0 metres, the reason for this limit is the maximum allowed round-trip delay of about 1,500ns. They enable fast and effective data transfer rates and storage.
How fast is this connection?
SuperSpeed USB cables (3.0) support data transfer rates up to 5Gbit/sec and is backward compatible with USB 2.0 / USB 1.1.
USB 2.0 has a speed of 480Mbps, while 1.1 has two speed modes: High speed, operating at 12Mb/s and low speed, operating at 1.5Mb/s. High speed devices include scanners & printers, while low speed devices include mice & keyboards. A 2.0 computer port will work with both USB 2.0, 1.1 USB cables.
What is USB On-The-Go (OTG)
USB On-The-Go (USB OTG) enables devices other than a PC to act as a host. These cables connect portable equipment, such as PDAs, cell phones, and digital cameras, to each other without using a PC host.
What kinds of USB peripherals can I connect to my PC or Mac?
USB cables enable connection of telephones, digital cameras, modems, keyboards, mice, digital joysticks, some CD-ROM drives, tape and floppy drives, digital scanners and specialty printers. This data rate also supports a new generation of peripherals, including computer-telephony integration, MPEG-2 video-base products, data gloves and digitizers.
How many USB peripherals can I connect at once?
Technically, up to 127 individual USB peripherals can be connected at one time with a number of suitable cables. Some devices reserve USB bandwidth, so the practical maximum of devices could be less than the theoretical maximum. However, PCI-USB add-in cards can provide an additional independent USB bus to which even more peripherals can be connected.
Can my computer use USB devices?
On the hardware side, you will need a USB port in your computer. This can either be built in (most PC's built in 1999 and Apple's iMac) or from a plug in card. On the software side, you will need Windows 98 or higher. For Apple Macintosh computers you need MacOS 8.1 or later. USB cables enable significant data storage and transfer rates.
Can I add a USB port to my older computer?
Yes, by installing a PCI-USB add-in card. You must have a 486 or higher system running Windows 98 or higher.
What type of cables do I need?
The standard USB peripheral cable has an A male connector to a B male connector. The A connector (upstream) plugs into the computer or hub, and the B connector (downstream) plugs into the peripheral device. USB cable lengths are available up to 5 metres. To extend the length of a standard AB cable, a USB extension cable is needed. These can be passive or active. USB extension cables have an A female connector to an A male connector. Active USB extension cables are used when the distance is greater than 5 metres, plus these can be chained to reach longer distances. Passive USB extension cables are designed for shorter distances.
There are six types of connectors: Type A, Type B, Mini B, Mini A, Micro A and Micro B:
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|Maximum number of devices||127||63|
|Maximum cable length||5 metres, maximum of 5 connections, maximum total distance 25 metres||4.5 metres, maximum of 16 connections, maximum total distance 72 metres|
|Data transfer rate||1.5 / 12 / 480 Mbps, 5 Gbps||400 / 800 Mbps|
How to use USB Cables for any Device or Peripheral
What is the maximum distance?
Five metres is the maximum cable length allowed by the USB specification. You can achieve longer runs by inserting a hub every five metres or you can daisy-chain Active Extension cables together.
How do I increase bandwidth?
By installing a PCI-USB add-in card, which provides an independent USB bus to which even more peripherals can be connected. USB supports both bus-powered and self-powered devices. Most general-purpose hubs come with their own power supply and therefore are self powered. Bus powered hubs get power from the bus and therefore has the limitation of only supporting low power devices. Each downstream port on a bus-powered hub typically supplies up to 100mA. On the other hand, each downstream port on a self-powered hub typically supplies up to 500mA.
How can I connect two computers via USB?
To connect two computers together you will need a Link Cable for file and hardware sharing. CAUTION: Using A to A USB cables, will short the two PCs' power supplies together, possibly destroying one or both machines or causing a fire hazard.
Can I use Serial, Parallel, SCSI, or PS/2 devices on USB?
These devices use different signals, not to mention different connectors than the ones used for USB, so you can't plug them directly into a port. However, you can convert serial, parallel, SCSI, or PS/2 devices into USB compatible devices by using USB Converters.
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