This article will provide general information and history about USB standards as well as different types of USB connections.USB stands for Universal Serial Bus and is used in connections, communication, and to supply power.USB has had 4 major releases since it was first introduced into the market, as well as some minor adaptations around those releases. USB ports and cables can be identified by the USB symbol pictured below. There are a couple of key points to understand about USB:USB Releases, as outlined below, have to do with speed and specifications. Types of USB Connections, outlined later on this page, have to do with the physical connections, shapes, and sizes of the USB cables and ports. Some USB Connections and some USB Releases cross over with each other throughout the overall timeline of USB technology to offer the best selection of features, functions, and benefits.USB ReleasesUSB 4.0Specifications Announced 2019, but not widely available as of the writing of this article (May 2021)Also known as SuperSpeed+ and based on Thunderbolt protocolsSpeeds up to 40Gb/s using certified cablesUSB 4.0 ports and connectors are typically of the Type C varietyBackwards compatibility with USB 3.2, USB 2.0, and Thunderbolt 3 is supportedUSB 3.2Released 2017Also known as USB SuperSpeed+Speeds up to 20Gb/s using certified USB cablesUSB 3.2 ports and connectors are typically of the Type C varietyVariations include Gen 1x2 (10 Gb/s) and Gen 2x2 (20 Gb/s)USB 3.1Released 2013Also known as SuperSpeed+Speeds up to 10Gb/sUSB 3.1 ports and connectors are often color-coded Teal or BlueUSB 3.1 ports and connectors can be of Type A, Type B, or Type C varietyVariations include Gen 2 (10 Gb/s), later referred to as 3.2 Gen 1x1USB 3.0Released 2008Also known as SuperSpeed USBSpeeds up to 5Gb/sUSB 3.0 ports and connectors are often color-coded Teal or BlueGenerally backwards compatible with USB 2.0 at the slower speedUSB 3.0 ports and connectors can be of Type A, Type B, or Type C variety as well as a Micro B SuperSpeed variationVariations later referred to as 3.1 Gen 1 and 3.2 Gen 1x1USB 2.xReleased 2000Also known as High Speed USBSpeeds can be 480 Mbit/s, but due to overhead effective speeds are 35 MB/s or 280 Mbit/sUSB 2 ports and connectors are often color-coded either black or whiteGenerally backwards compatible with USB 1.x at the slower speed, and USB 3.x at a slower speedUSB 2.x ports and connectors can be of Type A, Type B, or Type C varietyUSB 2.x ports and connectors can also be of the Type Mini A, Mini B, Mini AB, Micro A, Micro B, or Micro AB varietyUSB 1.x (now considered obsolete)Released 1996, updated 1998Also known as Low Speed USB and Full Speed USBSpeeds are 1.5 Mbit/s (Low Bandwidth or Low Speed) and 12 Mbit/s (Full Bandwidth or Full Speed)USB 1.x ports and connectors are often color-coded either black or whiteWorks with USB 2.x but at the lower speedUSB 1.x ports and connectors can be of the Type A or Type BTypes of USB Connections Type ADesigned to be connected to a host device, such as a desktop or game console.Type BDesigned for peripherals. For example, printers will have a USB Type-B connector most of the time.Mini and MicroThe various mini and micro connections are used in various smaller devices such as cell phones and digital cameras.Mini-USB connectors will mostly be found on older portable devices but are becoming obsolete.Micro-USB is a very popular USB connection for portable devices.Type C The newest connection for USB is USB Type-C. Type-C is meant to replace previous connection types with a single connection.Support for up to USB 4.0 with speeds up to 40GB/sCompatible with 3.0 and 2.0 with the use of adaptersPower output of 20V(100W) and 5A. This will allow future laptops to be USB poweredBi-directional power so a peripheral device could power the hostNo up or down position. No more flipping the cable around to find the right positionUSB Technologies and FunctionsUSB On The Go / USB OTGOTG was released in 2001 and enables USB devices to communicate with one another. For example, a smartphone can read directly from a USB flash drive instead of having to go through a desktop to transfer the data.Both devices can act as a host or peripheral so that the data sharing can work both waysDoes not work through a standard hubDevice needs to be OTG compatible and use an OTG cableMay need to download a file manager app to fully utilize all featuresUSB Sleep and ChargeSleep or Charge ports do not turn off during sleep or standby modes on computers, unlike normal USB ports, which will disable when the computer is asleep.Mostly color coded Yellow or RedMay be identified differently depending on the computer manufacturerMay need to be enabled on the computerMay also have a lightning bolt next to the USB symbolUSB Data Transfer CableEnables a user to transfer data from one computer to another, which a standard USB cable will not. These are not very widespread because there are easier ways to do this, such as a home network, flash drive, or Ethernet crossover cable.