ARCHIVED: What is USB?
Universal Serial Bus (USB) is a way to connect peripheral devices to computers. It replaces the functionality of serial and parallel ports, including keyboard and mouse ports.
USB uses a bus topology, which means peripherals can be daisy-chained together or connected through hubs. Up to 127 devices may be connected together at one time, and devices may be connected and disconnected while the computer is in operation (hot-swapping).
To use USB peripherals, your computer must have either built-in USB capability or a USB expansion card installed. Your computer's operating system must be able to support USB as well.
USB devices are self-identifying, and USB is Plug-and-Play compliant, which means that installation and configuration of USB devices should be relatively easy. The current standard, USB 3.0, offers transmission speeds of up to 5 Gbps. This is approximately 10 times that of its predecessor USB 2.0, which offered a maximum performance speed of about 480 Mbps.
Peripherals that make use of USB connections include digital audio devices, telephony devices, cable boxes, printers, keyboards, mice, joysticks, digital cameras, and scanners.
For more information about USB, including technical specifications, see USB.org.
Last modified on January 07, 2013.