USB (Universal Serial Bus) ports or hubs allow computer users to be able to connect computer peripherals including the likes monitors to their computers. They provide local and usually small data transfer levels and are found on all manner of modern devices including the likes of laptops and desktop computers as well as peripheral devices such as mobile phones, flash memory sticks, cameras, and backup hard drives.
The combination of performance and convenience has made USBs one of the most popular computer interfaces available today. The development of the USB interface came about because of the need for a convenient communications interface that would be able to cope with the increasingly high data rates that were starting to become necessary for the computer and peripherals industries.
The USB system comes with a number of different connectors, the biggest of which is the Type A USB connector, but in addition to A and B types, there are also micro and mini versions. The new Type C USB connector has been introduced in order to be able to offer the kind of performance that is required by the most recent version of USB.
USB hubs expand one USB port to allow for the connection of a number of different USB devices. There are limited USB ports on many computers that nonetheless require an expanding number of devices to be connected to them at the same time. USB hubs allow for a considerable expansion in the degree of connectivity.
Upstream and downstream
USB ports differentiate between USB connections by allocating them as A and B. The former are able to go upstream, which means that they go toward the computer, while connections on the latter move downstream and can be linked to different peripherals.
One good example is an HP flat panel monitor that makes use of a USB 2.0 hub, which comes with four downstream USB connectors that link peripherals to the computer, as well as an upstream port that is able to connect the monitor. Upstream USB connectors are always used for this purpose while downstream USB connectors are always there for the purpose of linking with a USB device.
There are individual classifications for different categories of USB devices. For example, speakers and microphones are regarded as being in the audio class, while smart cards and chip cards are classified as chip card interface devices. Speakerphones and modems are classified as communication class USB devices, while joysticks, keyboards and mice fall into the USB peripheral class known as the human interface device. Any devices that come with class-specific details within their interface are classified as composite class items.
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USB attachment points come under the hub classification, while the likes of hard drives, flash memory readers, digital cameras, CD read/write drives, and media players come under the mass storage class. USB devices in the video class include digital camcorders and webcams.
Upstream and downstream USB connectors are of equal importance, without which the computer and its peripherals will not be able to function in the correct manner.