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USB (Universal Serial Bus) Print

Universal Serial Bus
A widely used hardware interface for attaching peripheral devices. USB ports began to appear on PCs in 1997, and Windows 98 was the first Windows to support it natively. Within a few years, USB became popular for connecting nearly every external peripheral device. Replacing the serial and parallel ports on a PC, at least four USB ports are standard on every computer.

Hot Swappable
USB devices can be connected to without turning the computer off, enabling removable devices to be plugged and unplugged as needed. This feature, combined with easy-reach ports on the front of the computer case, gave rise to the ubiquitous USB drive (see USB drive).

USB 1.0 and USB 2.0
USB has a maximum bandwidth of 12 Mbps for USB 1.0 and 1.1 and 480 Mbps for Hi-Speed USB 2.0. Up to 127 peripheral devices can be attached to the bus, and USB 1.1 devices can plug into USB 2.0 ports. Fast devices can use the full bandwidth, while low-speed ones can use a 1.5 Mbps subchannel.

USB Hubs
A USB hub provides additional ports for the user. Like any other USB device, the hub plugs into a USB port on the computer and provides four or more USB ports for peripherals. The peripherals themselves may also contain hubs. For example, a monitor may have a built-in USB hub in order to provide a convenient desktop location for plugging in other devices. For more details, see USB hub.

Type A and B, Mini-A and B
The USB ports on computers and hubs have a rectangular Type A socket, and peripheral devices have a cable with a Type A plug. Peripherals that do not have an attached cable have a square Type B socket on the device and a separate cable with a Type A and Type B plug.

The Mini-A and Mini-B connectors are used on small portable devices such as PDAs, music players, digital cameras and cellphones. Hubs may use Mini-B instead of Type B for the computer connection. See USB OTG, USB drive, USB printer and USB switch.

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