The reliable Universal Serial Bus port standard is among the most commonly used on the planet. It started with the USB1.0 moved on to the USB2.0 which provided better speed and since have been accepted widely. It all started to give a user friendly interface to attach external devices to PCs and emerged as a de facto communication interface from there on. With the success of USB2.0, the USB implementers group came with a better and robust USB3.0 specification which gave speeds up 5 Gps thus giving higher bandwidth while maintaining the backward compatibility to older versions OF USB.
With more powerful devices and ever increasing data transfer size is need for higher bandwidth and faster data transfer. Along with this USB is becoming an universal charging port for many portable devices. To cater to this USB implementers group brought in 3 new specifications, USB3.1, USB PD2.0, USB Type C connector.
The introduction of faster USB3.1 specifications enables USB’s integration in a number of new products. With the implementation of USB PD2.0, device manufacturers can finally get rid of the power bricks used to charge devices and finally use USB connectors to charge any device. USB implementers group also tried to solve the age old problem of orientation of USB connectors by introducing of USB type C connectors which can be connected in any orientation and is also reversible. With all these added features and complete backward compatibility, new USB is up for an exciting future.
USB3.1 will witness faster adoption than its predecessor due to the introduction of three new specifications
- USB power delivery 2.0.
- USB type C connector.
- USB 3.1 specification.
Let briefly look into each one of them.
USB Power Delivery Specification:
Modern devices like phones, tablets, and even laptops are being equipped with bigger and more efficient batteries, so getting as much power to them as safely possible is a necessity.USB 3.0 and 3.1 both support the USB Power Delivery specification, which supports a maximum of 20 volts at 5 amps for a total of 100 watts of power. Thus enabling manufacturers to finally get rid of the charging bricks and charge all the devices with a standard USB port.
USB Type C:
Over the years there were number of types of USB connections. The rectangular port was a Type A connector, then there was a Type B connector and then following which there are several micro and mini type connectors. To ease this confusion of connectors and to give a single connector for all uses, USB implementers group came up with a USB Type C specification. It’s small, compact, and replaces the standard USB Type-A and B connections as well as the myriad of micro and mini USB ports and yes its reversible.
Because the Type C specification and USB3.1 specification was launched at the same time, it is often confused that both all Type C connectors work at USB3.1 specification. However it’s not true and Type C are just connectors and can run in any specification even USB2.0. But implementing a Type C connector with a USB3.1 specification gives a very good lead from other specification as it can carry better speeds, high quality video and audio data with a reversible connector.
USB 3.1 Specification:
USB 3.1 is successor of USB3.0 that was release in 2013, which introduces a faster transfer speed of about 10 GB/s.
The Enhancements of USB3.1 are
- Faster Speed: USB3.1 works at 2x the speed of USb3.0. Thus giving better data transfer rate. It is faster with more efficient coding which allows lower overheads and thus allows data transfer at a higher speed.
- Backward Compatible: Like all its predecessors USB3.1 is also backward compatible with all previous speeds.
- Reversible Connector: USB3.1 supports reversible connectors.
- More Power: USB 3.0 essentially doubled the amount of power that a device could potentially drain from the bus to 900 mA at 5 V. USB 3.1 adds more options: 2 A at 5 V; 5 A at 12 V; and 5 A at 20 V.
- Backward Compatibility: Just like its predecesors, USB3.1 is backward compatible. So a USB3.1 can be connected to USB2.0 or a USB2.0 can be connected to a USB3.1. However optimal speeds are achieved only when USB3.1 is connected to USB3.1.
To achieve better speeds USB3.1 has implemented better encoding. The line code is known as 128b/32b and it results in 20 percent better use of those bits.
Application of USB3.1:
With the integration of all the 3 specification together USB3.1 will be a very exciting specification, giving its competitors a sure run for their money. The Typical applications for USB3.1 would be
- Devices not enabled by HDMIsuch as mobile or tablet to PC or TV. Applications include gaming or viewing multimedia content. Mobile devices have USB ports but usually do not have HDMI, so USB 3.1 will simplify sending content to/from TVs.
- Local storage: Images are being shot with higher resolution, creating terabytes of data in some cases. USB 3.1 allows multiple HDDs to be connected for local storage.
- Audiovisual over USB:This application makes sense because it can replace numerous audio and video connectors and cables, reducing clutter. USB 3.1 also supports audiovisual displays beyond 1080p resolution and multi-display configurations.
- New categories: With USB now offering 100 W of power, entirely new categories of USB peripherals will be developed, such as portable USB monitors and display docks enabling a mix of audiovisual and webcam storage over a single connection.
USB will be leader in market with respect to connectivity ahead of its competitor Thunderbolt, because it’s less expensive and offers comparable bandwidth. Now with new specification that will give charging capabilities to USB devices and the new connector type which would solve the age old alignment problem of USB, it is surely going to be a market leader replacing a number of existing ports in current devices.