When it comes to connecting computers to other devices, USB is the most
popular and stable option. USB helps us connect keyboard, mouse, digital
camera, printer, scanner, external hard disk, external CD/DVD reader, etc.
Although USB is very useful, most people do not know the full form of USB.
In this article, we are discussing the basic knowledge of USB, such as what is
a USB full form, what is USB, a brief history of USB, its features,
advantages, disadvantages, and more.
What You Will Learn
What is the full form of USB?
The meaning or full form of USB is “Universal Serial Bus“. It is the most common type of port in a computer system, which helps users
connect a variety of devices (such mobile devices, media devices, storage devices, etc.) and peripherals to a computer.
The full form of USB can be explained as:
Let’s talk about what USB is:
What is USB?
Universal Serial Bus is a computer port that allows
communication across different devices and the host controller (e.g., computer
system). It helps in transferring the data and the electric supply between
various peripheral devices, such as mouse, keyword, printer, external storage
devices, media devices, etc.
In this technological era, USB is the primary medium for transferring the data
and power supply between computers and other electronic devices. Some common
USB versions are USB 1.0, USB 2.0, USB 3.0 and USB 3.1.
A Brief History of USB
In 1994, a group of seven companies worked together to develop an easy
connection of devices with computers. Finally, USB was developed in
collaboration with companies such as Microsoft, IBM, Compaq, Intel, DEC, NEC,
and Nortel. They manufactured USB devices that worked with computers and
laptops at acceptable speeds. Also, USB was designed to work on multiple
platforms such as Windows, Linux, Mac, etc.
Before USB was introduced, computers had serial and parallel ports ports that helped connect different
devices for data transfer. Each peripheral device such as a mouse, keyboard,
printer, or scanner had its own separate port. However, the main issue with
using these ports to connect to computers was their slow speed. Typically,
data transfer speed between serial and parallel ports ranged between 100 kB/s
to 450 kB/s. In addition to the slow speed, many devices encountered
incompatibility issues and problems with multiple interfaces. This is why the
need for USB emerged.
How can we connect devices using USB on a Computer?
Connecting devices to a computer via USB is not rocket science. It is very
simple and easy to use. We only need to insert the device using any USB port
of the computer. Most USB devices support the ‘plug and play’ nature, and so
we don’t need to do anything to start using such devices. Once we insert these
types of devices, the computer will automatically detect the device and set up
to work on it. The configuration of such devices is so fast that they do not
even need to reboot the computer system.
However, some devices may come with drivers that we must first install on our
computers to start using those devices. This should be done only once. After
installing the drivers, the devices start working as usual.
Types of USB
Depending on the size, USB controllers can be divided into the following three
• Standard Size USB
• Micro Size USB
• Mini Size USB
Characteristics of USB
Some essential characteristics of USB are listed below:
• A single USB host controller can be used to connect up to 127
• Modern computers are coming with USB 3.0 which has a maximum speed of
up to 625 MB/s.
• Most USB devices support the ‘plug and play’ mechanism. This means
devices do not require additional software to start working on the
• Some USB devices come with power-saving mode. This means that devices
will automatically go into sleep-mode when the computer system is idle for a
• Most USB devices can use power from a computer without the need for
an external power supply. For example- keyboard, mouse, external storage
Advantages of USB
The following are the advantages of USB:
• USB is a comparatively less expensive option to connect the devices.
• Because of the true ‘plug and play’ nature, USB is very easy to use.
• A variety of connector types and sizes are available.
• USB uses a connector system that is quite robust in nature.
• The length of the USB and the number of USB ports can be increased by
connecting the USB hub. However, the maximum number of peripherals that can be
attached to a single host controller cannot exceed 127.
Disadvantages of USB
The following are the disadvantages of USB:
• The length of the USB cables is limited.
• Few modern peripheral devices need sustained speed, which is not
possible with USB.
• The overall capability and performance of USB are limited.
• Single messages can be transferred between the peripheral and the
host at a time.
• Broadcasting is not supported over USB.
USB (stands for ‘Universal Serial Bus’) is the most commonly used type of
cross-platform connection technology that is used to connect various devices
with computers. It is supported by most operating systems and can only be used
by inserting the device into the computer’s USB port.