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Technicalc Topics

What is USB?   

Wireless USB Brings Greater Convenience and Mobility to Devices

USB Drive

What is USB flash drive?




What Is USB ?

  An Introduction to the Universal Serial Bus

USB (or Universal Serial Bus) is a 13-year old standard that was originally designed to connect, then smart phones to PCs

in the mid-90s. It later became the de facto standard for connecting any external, thanks to USB's built-in power supply and relatively fast speeds. The then-unique one-cable approach sparked a revolution that spawned everything USB (no, not this site) ranging from flash drives, hard drives, speakers, TV tuners to webcams. All these top at 12Mbps, at which speed is only good for mice and keyboards; so the official USB body upgraded the specs to USB 2.0, adding Hi-Speed USB mode operating at 480Mbps. As more applications moved on to wireless thereafter, the same group decided to follow the trend by cutting the wire in the latest Certified Wireless USB 1.0

Universal Serial Bus (USB) makes connecting devices to your computer faster, easier and virtually limitless. High-speed USB devices are capable of communicating at speeds up to 12 megabits per second. USB makes Plug-and-Play a reality. Simply plug a USB device to your computer- without shutting down and without having to open your computer. Connect up to 127 printers, modems, keyboards, mice, joysticks, scanners, digital cameras, and other USB devices.

The growth of USB products and related services over the next years will be outstanding. USB will soon replace legacy devices, and with most PCs and notebooks shipping with USB ports as well as major operating systems supporting USB, the technology is maturing and gaining momentum. Universal Serial Bus is now the dominant interface for connecting virtually all computer peripherals - printers, scanners, modems, cameras and virtually any other form of computer-connected device.

Universal Serial Bus  

USB, or Universal Serial Bus, is a peripheral bus connectivity standard which was conceived, developed and is supported by a group of leading companies in the computer and telecommunication industries - Compaq, DEC, IBM, Intel, Microsoft, NEC, and Northern Telecom. USB was developed with one goal in mind: to make it easier for users to plug-and-play computer peripherals without having to open the box, install cards into dedicated computer slots and reconfiguring the system. The current standard published and implemented on most USB devices is version 1.1.

USB makes it convenient to simultaneously use and connect up to 127 peripherals to a computer without using several connectors, different interrupts and IO addresses. The computer automatically recognizes the device connected and installs the appropriate drivers. It enables computer users to "hot-plug" computer peripherals to their PCs and start using them without having to reboot.

Features of USB

·   One type of device cable. USB also standardizes connectors and cables. USB cables have two connectors: an A connector and a B connector. The A connector is the end that goes into the computer, and the B connector goes into the device. The total cable length between devices must not exceed 5 meters, or 16 feet.

·   Operating System support. USB driver support is built into the latest versions of the Windows and Apple operating systems. It is not compatible with all operating systems. Some USB devices will work with Windows 95 OSR 2.1, but Windows 98, Windows 2000, MAC OS 8.1 or higher offer much more USB support.

·   Three device speeds. Low speed (1.5 Mbps) is mostly used for input devices such as mice and keyboards, while Full speed (up to 12 Mbps) and High speed(USB 2.0, up to 480Mbps) is used mostly for video/audio capture devices and storage devices.

·   Hot pluggable. Devices can be attached to and detached from the computer without turning off the system. No jumper or IRQ settings are necessary.

·   Plug-and-Play. Once the device is connected to the computer, the system automatically recognizes the device connected and installs the appropriate drivers.

·   127 peripherals. USB makes it possible to simultaneously use and connect up to 127 devices to a single bus. The computer typically has 2 USB ports, so USB hubs are used to connect additional devices to the computer. USB hubs have multiple USB ports for connection of USB devices and for daisy chaining one or more hubs.

·   Point to point connection. USB enables devices to be connected in any order, eliminating the need for external terminators.

·   Bus-powered and self-powered. USB supports both bus-powered and self-powered devices. Good examples of bus-powered and self-powered devices are USB hubs. USB hubs can draw power either from the host device (bus-powered) or from an external AC power supply (self-powered). Each downstream port on a bus-powered hub typically supplies up to 100 mA. On the other hand, each downstream port on a self-powered hub typically supplies up to 500mA.

Bus Topology

USB devices can be connected to the computer either directly through the USB port on the back of the computer or through a USB hub. The Universal Serial Bus connects USB devices with the USB host. There is only one host on any USB system. The USB interface to the host computer system is referred to as the host controller.

The host PC and USB hub each contain a USB controller. This controller is typically mounted on the PC motherboard, on a PCI add-in card or on the hub itself. The controller's function is to manage the USB devices on the serial bus and to help reduce the load on the computer CPU.

USB Devices

USB devices may be attached or detached from the USB host or hub. They may obtain power from an external source and/or from USB through the hub to which they are attached. When a USB device is attached to or removed from the USB hub, the host uses a process known as bus enumeration to identify and manage the device state changes necessary. A USB device must be configured and the host PC is responsible for configuring a USB device. The host typically requests configuration information from the USB device to determine the device's capabilities. This makes it possible for users to plug-and-play their USB devices to the PC.

Human Interface devices - USB mice, USB keyboards, USB joysticks,USB  trackballs, USB touchpads, USB gamepads, USB phones, video and USB still image cameras, USB PC card readers, USB rc laser pointer, and scanners
Output devices - text and graphics printers, USB  photo printers ,USB  card reader, USB gift, and USB speakers
Storage devices - USB loppy drives, USB hard drives, USB Zip drives, USB Communication devices - USB infrared devices, USB ISDN devices, USB networking equipment and USB modems
Hubs - USB standalone,USB keyboard hubs and USB monitor hubs.

USB 2.0

High USB supports a data transfer rate of 12 megabits per second. USB 2.0 is a lot faster, 40x faster to be precise.  USB 2.0 produces data transfer rates, up to 480 Mbps. Compaq, Hewlett-Packard, Intel, Lucent, Microsoft, NEC, and Philips jointly led this initiative, which enables new classes of high-performance peripherals.

The higher bandwidth of USB 2.0 allows high-performance peripherals, such as scanners, video conferencing cameras, next-generation printers, and faster storage devices to be easily connected to the computer via USB. The higher data rate of USB 2.0 opens up the probability of new and exciting peripherals. With the increased availability of USB-enabled PCs and USB peripherals on the market today, the need for legacy dependent input/output (I/O) connectivity is decreasing significantly. USB 2.0 is a significant step towards providing additional I/O bandwidth and broadening the range of peripherals that may be attached to the PC.

USB 2.0 is both forward and backward compatible with USB 1.1. Existing USB peripherals will operate with no change in a USB 2.0 system. Devices, such as mice, keyboards and game pads, will not require the additional performance that USB 2.0 offers and operate as USB 1.1 devices. All USB devices co-exist in a USB 2.0 system. The higher speed of USB 2.0 greatly broadens the range of peripherals that may be attached to the PC. This increased performance also allows a greater number of USB devices to share the available bus bandwidth, up to the architectural limits of USB.

The Development of USB 2.0

The companies that led the development of USB 2.0 had the expertise needed to focus on a specification that supports higher functionality peripherals. The USB 2.0 core team included all four members of the USB 1.1 core team (Compaq, Intel, Microsoft, and NEC), and three new members (Hewlett Packard, Lucent and Philips). As with USB 1.1, members of the core promoters group didn't intend to charge royalties for essential patents required to implement the USB 2.0 specification.  Intel had released the EHCI standard that will insure that all USB 2.0 devices are built to the same specification.  

I/O connectivity is being further advanced with the IEEE 1394 standard. USB 2.0 and 1394 primarily differ in terms of application focus. USB 2.0  supports the full range of popular PC peripherals while 1394 targets connection to audio visual consumer electronic devices such as digital camcorders, digital VCRs and digital televisions.



Universal Serial Bus (USB) 2.0 is an external serial interface used on computers and other digital devices to transfer data using a USB cable. The designation “2.0” refers to the standard or version of the USB interface. As of fall 2006, USB 2.0 remains the current standard.

USB is a plug-and-play interface. This means that the computer does not need to be powered off in order to plug in or unplug a USB 2.0 component. For example, an iPod or other MP3 player can be connected to a computer via a USB cable running to the USB 2.0 port. The computer will register the device as another storage area and show any files it contains.

Using the USB 2.0 interface, one can transfer files to or from the MP3 player. When finished, simply unplug the USB cable from the interface. Because the computer does not need to be shut down to plug in the device, USB components are considered “hot swappable.”

Aside from MP3 players, many other external devices use USB 2.0 data ports, including digital cameras, cell phones, and newer cable boxes. Native components also make use of USB, such as mice, keyboards, external hard drive enclosures, printers, scanners, fax machines, wireless and wired networks keys, and WiFi scanners. One of the most popular and convenient USB gadgets is a memory stick.

When USB standards change from an existing version to a newer version, as they did from USB 1.1 to USB 2.0, hardware made for the newer version is in most cases backwards-compatible. For instance, if a computer has a USB 1.1 port, a device made for USB 2.0 that is marked as “backwards compatible to USB 1.1” will work on the older port. However, the device will only transfer data at 1.1 speeds using a USB 1.1 port.

In breif, Currently, computers are built with USB 2.0 ports. The USB 2.0 standard encompasses three data transfer rates:

                  Low Speed: 1.5 megabits per second, used mostly for keyboards and mice.

                  Full Speed: 12 megabits per second, the USB 1.1 standard rate.

                  Hi Speed: 480 megabits per second, the USB 2.0 standard rate.

           Since USB 2.0 supports all three data rates, a device that is marked as “USB 2.0 compliant” isn’t necessarily hi-speed. It may operate through a USB 2.0 port at one of the slower speeds. Look for clarification when shopping for hi-speed USB 2.0 devices.


IEEE 1394 - Similar but not the same

            IEEE-1394 technology, also known as FireWire® or iLink™ is a high-performance and low-cost digital interface that merges  

            computing electronics into consumer multimedia. It is perfect for high-end users requiring data intensive applications for storage

           drives, high-quality digital video and audio. With FireWire, you can connect up to 63 devices in one chain and support speeds of up

            to 400 Mbps, 10 times faster and 9 times as many devices per chain than SCSI. It's plug-and-play and hot-swappable: you can

            connect and disconnect devices without shutting down your computer allowing flexibility and expandability. 


Wireless USB Brings Greater Convenience and Mobility to Devices

Overview: Unwiring USB
Imagine if all the devices in a home office -- such as printer, scanner, external hard drive, and digital camera -- could be connected to your PC without any wires. Imagine if all the components for an entire home entertainment center could be set up and connected without a single wire. Imagine if digital pictures could be transferred to a photo print kiosk for instant printing without the need for a cable. These are just some of the possible scenarios for high-speed wireless USB (WUSB) connectivity, the latest technology developed to bring even greater convenience and mobility to devices.
Universal serial bus (USB) technology has been a popular connection type for PCs and it's migrating into consumer electronic (CE) and mobile devices. Now this high-speed and effective connection interface is unwiring to provide the functionality of wired USB without the burden of cables. This next iteration of USB technology is the focus of the new Wireless USB Promoter Group, which will define the specifications that will eventually provide standards for the technology.

Wireless USB Promoter Group
At the Spring 2004 Intel Developer Forum, formation of the Wireless USB Promoter Group was announced. The group is comprised of seven industry leaders: Agere Systems, HP, Intel, Microsoft Corporation, NEC, Philips Semiconductors and Samsung Electronics.
The Wireless USB Promoter Group is chartered with defining the wireless USB (WUSB) specification. Already there has been some progress with the definition of a WUSB specification with a targeted bandwidth of 480 Mbps. This specification maintains the same usage and architecture as wired USB with a high-speed host-to-device connection. With these considerations in place, it will enable an easy migration path for today's wired USB solutions.
Additionally, WUSB specifications will be based on ultra wideband (UWB) radio efforts by the MultiBand OFDM Alliance (MBOA) and WiMedia Alliance, both open industry associations that promote personal-area range wireless connectivity and interoperability8among multimedia devices in a networked environment.

WUSB Topology
The fundamental relationship in WUSB is a hub and spoke topology, as shown in Figure 1. In this topology, the host initiates all the data traffic among the devices connected to it, allotting time slots and data bandwidth to each device connected. These relationships are referred to as clusters. The connections are point-to-point and directed between the WUSB host and WUSB device.

Figure 1 -- WUSB topology

The WUSB host can logically connect to a maximum of 127 WUSB devices, considered an informal WUSB cluster. WUSB clusters coexist within an overlapping spatial environment with minimum interference, thus allowing a number of other WUSB clusters to be present within the same radio cell.
Topology will support a dual role model where a device can also support limited host capabilities. This model allows mobile devices to access services with a central host supporting the services (i.e., printers and viewers). This model also allows a device to access data outside an existing cluster it may currently be connected to by creating a second cluster as a limited host.
Additionally, high spatial capacity in small areas is needed to enable multiple device access to high bandwidth concurrently. Multiple channel activities may take place within a given area. The topology will support multiple clusters in the same area. The number of clusters to be supported is still being determined.

Design Considerations
There are several architectural considerations in developing WUSB. In addition to providing wireless connectivity, WUSB must be backwards compatible with wired USB and provide a bridge to wired USB devices. Also, the host and solutions will need to enable the exchange of data between clusters or devices not related to the same host.
Low-cost implementation of WUSB will also be important to the successful integration of the technology. Implementation will follow the wired USB connectivity models as closely as possible to reduce development time and to preserve the low-cost, easy-to-use model, which has become pervasive in the PC industry.

WUSB performance at launch will provide adequate bandwidth to meet the requirements of a typical user experience with wired connections. The 480 Mbps initial target bandwidth of WUSB is comparable to the current wired USB 2.0 standard. With 480 Mbps being the initial target, WUSB specifications will allow for generation steps of data throughput as the ultra wideband radio evolves and with future process technologies, exceeding limits of 1 Gbps.

The specification is intended for WUSB to operate as a wire replacement with targeted usage models for cluster connectivity to the host and device-to-device connectivity at less than 10 meters. The interface will support quality delivery of rich digital multimedia formats, including audio and video, and will be capable of high rate streaming (isochronous transfers).

Dual-Role Devices
A new class of devices, called WUSB dual-role devices, will give rise to usage scenarios not previously possible. These devices will offer both limited host and device capabilities similar to USB On-The-Go.

Usage Applications
With the growing use of digital media in the PC, consumer electronic (CE) and mobile communication environments, a common standard interconnect is needed to support the on-going convergence of these environments. The trend toward convenient wireless distribution of digital information provides an opportunity to introduce a single, standard wireless interconnect capable of supporting usage models across all three environments.
The CE environment will have high-performance wireless interface expectations. Consumer usage models (Figure 2) will center on streaming media distribution that typically uses compression algorithms. The performance objective is to ensure a high quality of service is maintained to meet typical consumer entertainment expectations.

Figure 2 -- Consumer Usage Models

Typical video delivery with standard SDTV/DVD will consume between 3 and 7 Mbps while HDTV will use between 19 and 24 Mbps. A point distribution technology like wireless USB with an effective bandwidth of 480 Mbps could manage multiple HDTV streams. Host buffering could enable a network backbone to effectively distribute content to all distribution hosts, enhancing the quality experience for all users.
Business applications for WUSB include a variety of different usage possibilities. Common devices such as printers, scanners, hard drives, and projectors could all be used in wireless scenarios. These devices would function the same way as if they were using wired USB, but without all the cables. Office services on the corporate network could migrate to WUSB and benefit from faster performance than shared network devices offer.

Security and Device Association
WUSB security will ensure the same level of security as wired USB. Connection-level security between devices will ensure that the appropriate device is associated and authenticated before operation of the device is permitted. Higher levels of security involving encryption should be implemented at the application level. Processing overhead supporting security should not impose noticeable performance impacts or add device costs.
One of the primary objectives when implementing a wireless interconnect is that it is easy to install and use. Wired connections provide the user with implied expectations, that is that the device is connected as specified by the user when they install the wire. When the wire is installed, the user has basic expectations and when these expectations do not take place (plug does not fit), there is a known recourse.
Wireless connections, on the other hand, due to environmental characteristics, may establish connection paths that are not obvious. In fact, it may not be obvious when a device is connected.
So WUSB devices installed for the first time should automatically install drivers, security features, and so on and associate with systems that they can interact with. The concepts of 'turn on and use it' with an easy setup procedure will be employed.

WUSB in the Future
The first Wireless USB implementations will likely be in the form of discrete silicon that will be introduced in a number of form factors. These may include add-in cards and dongles along with embedded solutions to support the technology's introduction and subsequent rapid ramp up.
But the wireless future will arrive once WUSB, along with the common ultra wideband platform, becomes a standard part of every processor and chipset and is integrated in CMOS silicon.

As the latest iteration of USB technology, wireless USB (WUSB) will offer the same functionality as standard wired USB devices but without the cabling. As the new Wireless USB Promoter Group prepares to develop the specifications that will help standardize the technology, the industry is planning products that can take advantage of the convenience and mobility that this new device interconnect will offer.


 USB drive

Unlike most removable drives, a USB drive does not require rebooting after it's attached, does not require batteries or an external power supply, and is not platform dependent. Several manufacturers offer additional features such as password protection, and downloadable drivers that allow the device to be compatible with older systems that do not have USB ports. USB drives are available in capacities ranging up to about 65 gigabytes (GB), depending on manufacturer, in a corresponding range of prices. With a USB drive, data can be retained for long periods when the device is unplugged from the computer, or when the computer is powered-down with the drive left in. This makes the USB drive convenient for transferring data between a desktop computer and a notebook computer, or for personal backup needs.

What is USB flash drive?

A small, portable flash memory card that plugs into a computer USB port and functions as a portable hard drive with up to 4 GB of storage capacity. USB flash drives are touted as being easy-to-use as they are small enough to be carried in a pocket and can plug into any computer with a USB drive. USB flash drives have less storage capacity than an external hard drive, but they are smaller and more durable because they do not contain any internal moving parts.
USB flash drives also are called pen drives, key drives or simply USB drives.

Data Recovery Wizard can recover data from USB Flash Drive!










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