Intel®-developed interconnect continues to set the industry standard
Intel® Universal Serial Bus (USB) is a set of connectivity specifications developed by Intel in collaboration with industry leaders that allows easy, high-speed connections between peripherals and platforms. Today, USB is the most successful interconnect in the history of personal computing, and is becoming even more relevant as it continues to migrate to consumer electronics (CE), as well as mobile and embedded applications.
The USB standard
Providing an industry standard, USB was originally released in 1995 at 12 megabits per second (Mbps), and since then developers and engineers have taken full advantage of the specification.
Today, with a run rate of 3 billion USB products shipped into the growing electronics market every year, USB operates at up to 5 gigabits per second (Gbps) and is found in over ten billion PCs, consumer electronics, and embedded and mobile devices.
In addition to enabling developers and engineers with high performance and ubiquity, USB enjoys strong consumer brand recognition and a reputation for ease of use.
Today, SuperSpeed USB 3.0 provides the highest in USB performance—up to 10 times faster than SuperSpeed USB 2.0, with a design data rate of 5 Gbps. In addition, SuperSpeed USB dramatically reduces the power necessary to transfer large amounts of data using an efficient dual-simplex transfer protocol and advanced power management.
This latest version of USB retains full backward compatibility with previous generations, so existing platforms and devices will plug-and-play equally well with newer platforms and devices that support SuperSpeed USB.
Portable computing devices such as handhelds, cell phones, and digital cameras that connect to platforms as USB peripherals benefit from the additional capabilities to connect to other USB devices directly using USB On-The-Go (OTG) technology.
For instance, users can perform functions such as sending photos from a digital camera to a printer, or sending music files from an MP3 player to another portable player, PDA, or cell phone.
Wireless USB is the wireless extension to USB that combines the speed and security of wired technology with the portability and clutter-free convenience of wireless technology. This has enabled developers and engineers to create incredibly innovative and convenient solutions for mobile and embedded computing users.
Supporting robust high-speed wireless connectivity, wireless USB utilizes the common WiMedia* Ultra-Wideband (UWB) radio platform developed by the WiMedia Alliance.
USB in the future
The introduction of SuperSpeed USB marks an exciting time for developers and engineers, because its architecture was developed with performance scalability factored into the solution.
While it is still to be determined what new applications or uses will drive the need for higher levels of performance, a future version of SuperSpeed USB could support many tens of Gbps, and could even be adapted to optical signaling.
Intel formed the USB Implementers Forum (USB-IF) in 1995, as a non-profit corporation with other industry players to support and accelerate market and consumer adoption of USB-compliant peripherals.
Today, the USB-IF has over 700 member companies worldwide, and the board of directors comprises representatives from Hewlett-Packard, Intel Corporation, LSI Corporation, Microsoft Corporation, Renesas Electronics Corporation, and ST-Ericsson.
The forum facilitates the development of high-quality compatible USB peripherals (devices), and promotes the benefits of USB products that have passed compliance testing and sport the familiar USB certification logo.
Upcoming industry events
Information regarding upcoming events, documentation, products, compliance, and much more can also be found at the USB Implementers Forum web site.