Here’s what you need to know about USB 2.0 so you can take advantage of its full capacity.
In this article:
- What Is USB 2.0?
- What Is The Transfer Speed of USB 2.0?
- What Do “Male” and “Female” Connectors Mean for USB 2.0?
- Which Connectors Should You Use?
- What Are Its Connectors?
- What Is Its Port Name?
- How Can You Update Your Driver to USB 2.0?
- What Is The Difference Between USB 2.0 and USB 3.0?
- Are USB 2.0 and USB 3.0 Compatible?
- How Do USB 2.0 and USB 1.1 Work With Each Other?
USB 2.0: Everything You Need To Know
What is Universal Serial Bus (USB)? Developed in the 1990s, USB is an interface that connects devices to a host controller. For instance, it can connect a peripheral device, like an external hard drive, to a personal computer, which is the host controller.
What Is USB 2.0?
When USB 2.0 came out in 2000, it replaced the 1998-released USB 1.1. Its transfer rate was an improvement, as it is much faster than its predecessor.
USB 2.0 meant to increase the number of peripheral devices a host controller, such as a computer, can hold. While it was more difficult for a hard drive to become usable under USB 1.1, it now works well under this newer version.
It’s a widely-used interface when it comes to connecting peripheral devices to a computer. It works with keyboards, different types of mouse, printers, external hard drives, flash drives, digital cameras, and mobile devices, among others.
You can plug it into a USB socket and use it as a power supply for DC (direct current). Here are its other features:
- File transfer between devices
- Can work well with lower and higher USB versions
What Is The Transfer Speed of USB 2.0?
Up to 127 devices can run on the standard USB 2.0. This version has three data transfer rates (DTRs):
- Low Speed — 1.5 Mbps DTR
- Full Speed — 12 Mbps DTR (standard transfer rate of USB 1.1)
- High Speed — 480 Mbps DTR (standard transfer rate of USB 2.0)
It is evident that the transfer speed difference between USB 1.1 and 2.0 significantly increased. This means devices that support USB 2.0 connected to the same port can run faster than their USB 1.1 counterparts.
What Do “Male” and “Female” Connectors Mean for USB 2.0?
“Plug” is the name used for a male connector, while “receptacle” refers to a female connector.
The male connector, or plug, is the one that fits inside the device, while the female connector, or receptacle, is often called the port, which is where the male connector plugs in.
For instance, the end of the charger that plugs into the computer is the male connector. The ports in the computer are the female connectors.
Which Connectors Should You Use?
Listed below is the physical compatibility of USB 2.0 plug and receptacle connectors. You can refer to this list to see which connectors you can use USB 2.0 for:
- Type A plug: compatible with Type A USB 1.1, 2.0, and 3.0 receptacles
- Type B plug: compatible with Type B USB 1.1, 2.0, and 3.0 receptacles
- Micro-A plug: compatible with Micro-AB USB 2.0 and 3.0 receptacles
- Micro-B plug: compatible with Micro-AB USB 2.0 and 3.0 receptacles; and Micro-B USB 2.0 and 3.0 receptacles
- Mini-A plug: compatible with Mini-AB USB 2.0 receptacle
- Mini-B plug: compatible with Mini-AB USB 2.0 and Mini-B USB 2.0 receptacles
The USB 2.0 connectors above will work properly when used with their corresponding pair. Note though that occasional glitches are normal even when you pair a plug with a receptacle it is physically compatible with.
Even though USB 2.0 is compatible with some USB 1.1 and 3.0 connectors, the older technology will limit the data transfer speed.
What Are Its Connectors?
- Type A — This is also called the USB 2.0 Standard-A. It is a flat and rectangular USB connector that’s found on almost every USB cable.
- Type B — Another name for this is USB 2.0 Standard-B. It is square-shaped with a little notch on top, and it’s often found on computer-connected devices.
- Micro-A — This connector looks similar to the Type A connector, except it is smaller.
- Micro-B — This connector is small and rectangular. On one side, it has two slanted corners instead of square.
- Mini-A — This is also small and rectangular for the most part, with a rounded side.
- Mini-B — This looks similar to its Mini-A counterpart, but it has indentations on the short sides.
USB 2.0 is the only version that supports USB Mini-A, Mini-B, and Mini-AB connectors.
The Mini version of USB used to be the standard for mobile devices before the Micro version came out. It’s not as common today, but you can still find this in some cameras, consoles, and music players.
Micro USB is the current standard when it comes to portable and mobile devices. This is smaller than the Mini USB.
Mini and Micro connectors are actually considered as smaller forms of the Type B, but they are not named as such.
What Is Its Port Name?
Computer manufacturers often don’t specify USB port versions. The good news is, you can use your computer’s Device Manager function to see which port version you have.
Follow these steps to do so:
- Open your computer or laptop’s Device Manager.
- Once the Device Manager window is open, click the “+ or >” sign beside “Universal Serial Bus controllers.” There you will find the USB ports installed on your device.
This is how you can distinguish each port name:
- Universal Host: You have a USB 1.1 port
- Universal Host and Enhanced Host: You have a USB 2.0 port
- USB 3.0: You have a USB 3.0 port
How Can You Update Your Driver to USB 2.0?
USB driver refers to the file that enables a hardware device to communicate with a computer’s operating system. This should be regularly updated like your operating system.
A common reason for a faulty USB device are missing or outdated drivers. You can follow the steps we mentioned above to check if your computer has a USB 2.0 driver installed.
If not, you can find USB 2 Drivers on your computer manufacturer’s website, download, then install them. You can also automate driver updates by using a Driver Update Tool.
Another option is to update the drivers through the Device Manager. Simply right-click on a driver under “Universal Serial Bus controllers” and select “Update Driver.”
To know if you need to update your Drivers, you can run a scan using a tool for driver update. The catch is, you need to pay to register it, but the Driver scan itself is usually free.
The benefits of having a Driver Update Tool include:
- Faster download speed and internet connection
- Smooth function of computer devices like scanner and printer
- Better computer performance, as it will keep your devices in top condition
You can also check hardware device problems through your Device Manager. The ones with issues are often marked with a yellow triangle that has an exclamation mark.
What Is The Difference Between USB 2.0 and USB 3.0?
USB 3.0 came out in 2008 after its predecessor. It significantly improved its predecessor in several aspects:
- Data Transfer Rate: Super Speed 4.8 Gbps (10 times faster than USB 2.0’s DTR)
- Data Transfer: Bi-directional, meaning it can read and write data at the same time
- Physical Look: Addition of a physical bus, which increased the wires from 4 to 8
- Power and Power Management: Provides up to 900 mA, making it more power-efficient (USB 2.0 provides only up to 500 mA)
To use it in its maximum capacity, you should pair USB 3.0 devices with 3.0 cables.
Are USB 2.0 and USB 3.0 Compatible?
As with USB 2.0, 3.0 is also backward compatible with its predecessor. It supports 2.0 devices, but the older technology limits its power and data transfer rate.
Likewise, it’s compatible with 3.0, but it still sticks to its own power and data transfer rate.
How Do USB 2.0 and USB 1.1 Work With Each Other?
USB 2.0 is backward compatible with 1.1, and vice versa. As always, the older technology will limit the capabilities of the USB device.
This is why, despite the fact that they can work together, you won’t be able to maximize USB 2.0 when connected to USB 1.1.
Now that you know what is USB 2.0, you can take advantage of its capabilities. Knowing more about a device such as this will allow you to use it more efficiently. We hope this guide has helped you understand more about and answered all your questions about USB 2.0.
What more would you like to know about USB 2.0? Let us know in the comments section below.