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What is the Difference Between USB Cable Types

written by: johnsinit•edited by: Simon Hill•updated: 4/8/2013

The USB or Universal Serial Bus was created to link the exchange of information between devices and a personal computer. The different USB cable types were crafted to retro-fit several series and aligned ports. Below is an overview of various USB cable types.

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    Interfacing computer components with the personal computer was the main objective in the advent of the Universal Series Bus standard, known as USB. Currently, many instruments such as video game players, mobile phones, and iPods, are popularly used with USB cables. USB is very fast at transferring information, new USB standards are backwards compatible with older USB versions, and USB cables are capable of charging electronic devices. The advent of USB has lifted information technology to greater heights giving innovative solutions to instrument interfacing.

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    Different USB CableTypes

    Currently, there are several USB cable types available in the market. A few have been augmented as technology has modernized. The Standard A and Standard B ports have been used by the first USB classification. The Mini-B ports and containers were augmented as the initial engineering variation to the USB 2.0 classification. The information pins in the A-Plug are separate from the external power cables to avoid information breakdown by activating the instrument first before storing information.

    Mini-USB to USB Cable 

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    Standard-B USB Plug

    The Standard-B type USB plugs meanwhile, connect into uploading plugs on instruments and controllers or computers, and are shaped like a square with chamfered corners. This Standard-B plug is utilized exclusively for devices with frequently detached connections like the one between a printer and a personal computer. The difference in the USB cable types protects the user from unknowingly interchanging and damaging the connections.

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    Standard-A USB Plug

    Appearing as depressed rectangles, the Standard-A type USB plugs connect into the downloading plugs on the USB controller or computer. This plug type is normally used on cables that are continuously connected to an instrument, such as the cables used in keyboards and mice attached to personal computers.

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    Mini and Micro USB Plugs

    Smaller instruments like digital cameras, cellular phones, and PDAs call for the unorthodox Mini-USB’s, specifically the Mini-B, Micro-A, and Micro-B plugs. Released commercially in 2007, the Micro-USB plug took the place of the Mini-USB connector that is employed in a host of modern cellular phones and PDAs.

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    Transfer Speed

    The transfer speed of the USB has advanced exponentially. The first USB series, version 1.1, had a transfer speed of 12 Mbps. When USB version 2.0 was made commercially available, it displayed a speed 40 times greater than the original version, or some 480 Mbps at the maximum transfer rate. Just less than two years ago, in August 2008, USB version 3.0 was introduced into the market with a staggering 5 Gbps capacity of data transfer. For a comparison of the latest USB standard and an alternative connection type known as Firewire read USB 3.0 vs Firewire.

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    USB cable types In the above picture, the cables from left to right are Micro-USB, Mini-USB, Standard B, Standard A Receptacle and Standard A.

    Before the arrival of the USB, computer components were interfaced using various forms of cable connections. USB was created to provide a common appliance that would link all computer components to one cable connection. From this invention came the different USB cable types that are in popular use today.


  • Universal Serial Bus -