Overview of USB Ports:
USB stands for Universal Serial Bus, an industry standard for short-distance digital data communications. USB allows data to be transferred between devices. USB ports can also supply electric power across the cable to devices without their own power source.
Both wired and wireless versions of the USB standard exist, although only the wired version involves USB ports and cables.
What Can You Plug Into a USB Port?:
- USB network adapters
- USB broadband and cellular modems for Internet access
- USB printers to be shared on a home network
Multiple USB devices can also be connected to each other using a USB hub. A USB hub plugs into one USB port and contains additional ports for other devices to connect subsequently.
You may plug cables into a USB port at any time regardless of whether the devices involved are powered on or off. However, do not remove cables from a USB port arbitrarily, as this can lose or corrupt data. Follow instructions provided with your equipment before unplugging USB cables.
Many PCs feature more than one USB port, but do not plug both ends of a cable into the same device, as this can cause electrical damage.
USB-B and Other Types of Ports:
Printers and some other devices may use smaller types of USB ports including a standard called USB-A. To connect a device having USB-B ports to a device with another type, simply use the correct type of cable with appropriate interfaces on each end.
Versions of USB:
For computer networking, Ethernet ports are sometimes used instead of USB. For some types of computer peripherals, FIreWire ports are also sometimes available. Both Ethernet and FireWire can offer faster performance than USB, although these interfaces do not supply any power across the wire.