USB Standard: Three Letter Chaos – Economy

But now for a long time: You could argue that most users don’t need the great features the USB consortium promises for their extra cables and devices anyway. Does reading data on an external hard drive take a little longer? But you might also get bored, because for years the industry couldn’t even come up with sane names for all the new standards – or who should remember things like USB Gen. 3.2 2×2?

What’s worse, however, is that device makers sometimes apply the standards incorrectly. It may even happen then that the best thing that the new USC-format connector plug has brought about is lost, which is that it doesn’t matter which way you plug the plug in.

The whole problem: In the end, it is quite difficult to implement, to facilitate the user all the complicated processes that have to be managed via USB. The goal is: plug it in and you’re done. Thus, screens and other peripherals should be connected easily and without major installation orgies.

Because of a stupid undressing

For this to work, standards must be met, which unfortunately often is not the case. For some functions the cables also have to have some intelligence – because of the stupid strings. Only if the cable has a chip that tells a charger what charging current the connected laptop would like, only then will it get it from the charger. If your own computer charges very slowly with a different USB-C charging cable than the one supplied: this could be the reason.

But also for the anti-twist connection, intelligence is needed, the connected devices must recognize in which direction a cable is connected and themselves correctly assign the available lines with a so-called multiplexer, here the power supply, there data for screen, keyboard etc. However, this does not work with some cables. So in some cases it may be useful to use a different cable.

Often, however, manufacturers do not label their devices or label them correctly. Then customers have to guess for themselves which USB outlet they can plug into where. Or with laptops: There are usually several USB-C sockets that can theoretically be used for charging. In practice, however, this often only works with one – it might help, for example, to organize tangled cables on the desk in the way that works best for you if you had a choice between the left and right outlet. . But with laptops the margins are tight, so savings are made on such functions – which is not immediately noticeable.

There are now six different major versions of USB, from the original USB 1.1 to the younger USB 4 offspring. Instead of sticking to relatively easy-to-remember names like USB 3.1 or 3.2, the industry consortium driving the development of USB used cryptic names to occur that often do not even match the original number. For example, USB 3.1 has become USB 3.2 Gen 2. And USB 4 – that would be too simple – works under USB 3.2 3×2. Foodies are happy, but normal users are confused, especially when something goes wrong.

And then there’s Thunderbolt

To make the confusion complete, Intel and Apple jointly developed a standard called Thunderbolt. The socket that was originally used was different, but has now also switched to USB-C, the technical requirements have been published and have been included in the USB 4 specification. Generally, Thunderbolt offers faster data transfer speeds. high.

Anyone who now thinks, great, there are now higher USB 4 speeds for everyone, is wrong. Thunderbolt speed is only available with special cables which must have a special chip in the connector. After all, you can now also connect USB hubs to Thunderbolt interfaces. To put it simply, these are multiple USB sockets. However, it may well be that full speed is no longer available on the line. For this to work, the hubs must also be Thunderbolt compatible.

The industry would be doing a great service to consumers if they cleaned up this mess. This would also include closer monitoring of compliance with standards.

Related Articles

Back to top button