USB Type-C: What’s the big deal?

USB Type-C: What’s the big deal?

You must have been hearing about USB Type-C, especially while searching for upcoming smartphones. It might appear to be just another USB upgrade or maybe some basic modifications. But things are much more complex than that. Although a few devices already have the USB Type C support, this particular technology will become more prevalent towards the end of 2015 when more flagship devices will be brought out. USB Type-C is just the beginning of series of changes that will occur in phones, computers and other devices. This change will be for the better as is already evident from the fact that the new USB protocol is a common port for all cables.

What is USB Type-C?

What is USB Type-C?

The common definition of USB-C is that it is a specification for a reversible-plug connector for USB devices and USB cabling. In simple terms, both ends of the cable in a USB Type-C will be the same, allowing for reversible plug orientation. So now you won’t have to worry about plugging it upside down. The port measures just 8.4mm by 2.6mm. This particular dimension is small enough to work even on the smallest available peripheral device.

The technical details for USB Type-C are as follows:

  • The connector has a 24 pin double sided construction which provides the following.
  • 4 power/ground pairs
  • 2 differential pairs for USB 2.0 data bus
  • 4 pairs for high speed data bus
  • 2 “sideband use” pins
  • 2 configuration pins for cable orientation detection
  • A dedicated biphase mark code (BMC) configuration data channel
  • VCONN +5 V power for active cables
  • OS Support:
  • Windows 10
  • OS X
  • Android M

The USB Type-C has been designed for aggressive performance while maintaining universally compatible connectivity. It will support USB 3.1 with the highest speeds reaching 10 Gbps. Even the power output is comparatively higher (20V or100W) and 5A). It seems that USB technology would one day be used to power up laptops similar to the fashion in which mobile devices are charged using the USB port. When this comes out, it would truly bring a lot of convenience to the average user.

It is also possible that USB-C will encourage the development of bus powered external hard-drives with significantly larger capacities that would not need a separate power adapter. The USB C technology is capable of powering more than one external desktop hard-drives, so there won’t be a need for an external power source. Interestingly, USB-C allows bi-directional power.

This means that a peripheral device would also be able to charge the host device and vice versa. You can put away all those cables and multiple connectors. With USB-C, it would be possible to move to a single robust solution that is far superior to other USB devices and technologies existing today.

How is USB Type-C Different?

USB Type-C

The first thing that you would notice about USB-C is the faster data throughput. Check out the speeds of the different USB to get an idea of the capabilities of Type-C.

  • USB 1.0 – 12 Mbits per second
  • USB 2.0 – 480 Mbits per second
  • USB 3.0 – 640 Mbits per second
  • USB Type-C (a.k.a USB 3.1) – 7.2 Gbits per second

The speed of the USB Type-C may be almost similar to the first version of the Thunderbolt port, but it is still a significant improvement over the previous versions, be it in terms of data throughput or in terms of usability.

Speed Is Not The Only Benefit

USB Speed

Apparently, enhancement in speed is not the only benefit that you get from USB-C. The new design ensures that both ends are exactly the same. This means you can plug either end of the cable into a device in any orientation. The reverse charging capability provided by the USB-C is a huge benefit, especially for computer manufacturers who no longer need to put a separate charging point. This will be instrumental in cutting down the amount of wires and cables need to establish connection between devices.

USB-C has backward compatibility with USB 3.0 and USB 2.0 but you will need to use an adaptor due to difference in the physical structure of the plugs. This might not appear to be a major change as of now because you are already using cables for a small enough micro-USB port on your devices.

It will take some years for USB-C to become the industry standard. However, with upcoming smartphones and other devices being equipped with USB-3, there should be a significant rise in the usage of this new USB protocol.

About Nishant

Nishant Raja is an expert author for the iNewTechnology. He writes about Smartphones, New tech Gadgets, Apps and how to use them.