Every thing You Must Know About USB Ports and Speeds (2024)

The title itself, Common Serial Bus (or USB), is an formidable promise: one port to rule all of them. Sadly, the fact is rather more difficult. Whereas your cellphone, pill, and laptop computer could all use the identical USB-C port for charging and information switch lately, they might not all work the identical means.

What’s USB4? What’s Thunderbolt? Is it the identical as USB-C? I am right here to assist reply all of those questions so you will get probably the most efficiency out of your units.

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Glossary of USB Phrases

First, it is very important outline just a few phrases up entrance.


Each USB machine is constructed to a selected model of the USB specification, managed by USB Implementers Discussion board (USB-IF). These variations are primarily characterised by how a lot information they will switch and the way a lot energy they will provide (no less than, these are the principle issues it is advisable fear about). Whereas most of those units are suitable, so long as they use the identical kind of port, your entire chain will match the slowest a part of the chain. To illustrate you plug a USB 3.2 SSD right into a USB 3.2 port in your pc, however you utilize USB 3.0 cable— information will solely switch at USB 3.0 speeds. Make certain every hyperlink in your chain is rated for the pace you want.

USB Energy Supply (or USB-PD)

As an alternative of carrying a charger for every machine, you possibly can select a charging adapter that may cost a number of units. by way of a number of USB-C Energy Supply ports (USB-C PD) ports. Energy Supply is a quick charging technique that helps as much as 240 watts of energy and permits devices to speak securely with chargers to find out the proper energy requirement. You will see some of these ports on USB hubs additionallytypically known as “pass-through charging”, though this isn’t an official time period.

Make certain the USB-C port in your charging adapter or hub is rated on your machine’s wants. MacBook Professionals usually require 96 watts throughout intensive workloads (although you possibly can nonetheless cost them at decrease wattages), so you will seemingly want 100W USB-C port on the charging adapter or USB hub for the perfect charging expertise.


These phrases consult with the bodily form of the connectors and ports on units. USB-C is frequent and appears like a small, elongated oval. It’s additionally reversible, so you possibly can’t plug it within the flawed means. USB-A is the outdated rectangular port you’ve seen for years. There are many extra kinds of USB connectorshowever these are the 2 you are most definitely to see in charging adapters, hubs, and docking stations In the present day.

Tremendous pace

You may additionally see some USB units offered with phrases like “SuperSpeed,” “SuperSpeedPlus,” and “SuperSpeed ​​USB 5/10/20 Gbps.” was initially supposed to be extra helpfulpromoting labels to point the technology or pace of the USB port, however sadly this solely serves to confuse the scenario. Generally, you possibly can ignore these labels and have a look at the precise pace scores.

What is going on on with USB generations?

It could be good in case you may join a USB 3.2 machine to a USB 3.2 port with a USB 3.2 cable and ensure that all the pieces works. Sadly, it is rather more difficult than that.

When USB 3.0 was launched in 2008, its most pace was round 5 gigabits per second (Gbps). Nevertheless, when USB 3.1 got here out in 2013 with a most pace of 10 Gbps, the 5 Gbps model was renamed USB 3.1 Gene 1, whereas the brand new, sooner specification is USB 3.1 Gen 2. Confused but? Properly, it may worsen.

After the discharge of USB 3.2 in 2019, USB 5Gbps was renamed once more to “USB 3.2 Gen 1,” the 10Gbps model grew to become “USB 3.2 Gen 2,” and the brand new 20Gbps spec grew to become—you guessed it—USB 3.2 Gen 2×2. Wait, what? “2×2” refers to working two 10Gbps information lanes on the similar time. You don’t have to know all that. Many USB hubs and docking station producers They removed names, labels and symbols and began printing the utmost pace proper subsequent to the ports.

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