USB-C (formally known as USB Type-C) is a 24-pin USB connector system with a rotationally symmetrical connector. The designation C refers only to the connector’s physical configuration or form factor and should not be confused with the connector’s specific capabilities, which are designated by its transfer specifications (such as USB 3.2).
Type-C receptacle A pin layout
SuperSpeed differential pair #1, TX, positive
SuperSpeed differential pair #1, TX, negative
USB 2.0 differential pair, position 1, positive
USB 2.0 differential pair, position 1, negative
Sideband use (SBU)
SuperSpeed differential pair #4, RX, negative
SuperSpeed differential pair #4, RX, positive
Type-C receptacle B pin layout
SuperSpeed differential pair #2, RX, positive
SuperSpeed differential pair #2, RX, negative
Sideband use (SBU)
USB 2.0 differential pair, position 2, negative[a]
USB 2.0 differential pair, position 2, positive[a]
SuperSpeed differential pair #3, TX, negative
SuperSpeed differential pair #3, TX, positive
The USB Type-C Specification 1.0 was published by the USB Implementers Forum (USB-IF) and was finalized in August 2014. It was developed at roughly the same time as the USB 3.1 specification. In July 2016, it was adopted by the IEC as “IEC 62680-1-3”.
A device with a Type-C connector does not necessarily implement USB, USB Power Delivery, or any Alternate Mode: the Type-C connector is common to several technologies while mandating only a few of them.
USB 3.2, released in September 2017, replaces the USB 3.1 standard. It preserves existing USB 3.1 SuperSpeed and SuperSpeed+ data modes and introduces two new SuperSpeed+ transfer modes over the USB-C connector using two-lane operation, with data rates of 10 and 20 Gbit/s (1 and ~2.4 GB/s).
USB4, released in 2019, is the first USB transfer protocol standard that is only available via USB-C.
What is USB-C?
To combat the issue of defunct cables filling landfills, the USB Implementers Forum, a group of the world’s most recognised companies in the technology industry, came together to create a standard connector. As a result, USB-C®1 was developed and it’s quickly becoming widely adopted. Here are some advantages of using USB-C.
Is USB-C easier to use?
Technology can be frustrating, but nothing is more frustrating than when you plug a USB into your laptop, and it doesn’t fit. So, you flip it around only to realise the first way was correct…sound relatable?
USB-C eliminates these frustrations because it is a user-friendly connector that is symmetrical and reversible. Like Apple’s lightning connector, the USB-C can be plugged in both ways. Miles away from the original, large, square-shaped USB, the USB-C is a small, slim, stadium shape. It’s small enough to fit into the increasingly slimmed-down mobile devices but has enough power to connect all your laptop peripherals.
Impressive USB-C performance
Another reason why USB-C’s popularity is increasing is due to its impressive performance standards. It supports the latest USB 3.2 communication protocols and is faster and more powerful than most standard USBs. The USB-C can provide up to 100W of power to devices and it can transfer data up to 20Gbps2.
USB-C can deliver Ultra-HD 4K video resolution and carry audio too. This means that you can charge full-sized products and transfer data up to 20 times faster than USB 2.03, while enjoying an Ultra-HD 4K experience.
Is USB-C universal?
USB-C is extremely universal as it has the same connector on both ends. This means you only need one cable to charge your phone, connect to your laptop and your friend’s phone. This is a lot more convenient for all your devices.
USB-C is also likely to become the standard connector that you will use, as most companies are using USB-C in their latest products. This is great news for consumers as we should soon be able to use the same connector for all our devices.
Do I need to replace all my existing devices?
As USB-C becomes the standard connector, this doesn’t mean you need to replace your existing devices. You’ll still be able to use your current devices, but you will need an adaptor. Kingston’s Nucleum USB-C Hub is the perfect product to connect all your devices using a single USB-C port. You can connect seven devices at once allowing you to keep using all the accessories you need. Kingston’s Nucleum contains a HDMI port, two USB-A ports, two USB-C ports, a microSD Reader and an SD reader. This gives you great versatility and the ability to use all your laptop peripherals from a single USB-C port.
USB-C is the future of flash drives
With some of the biggest names in technology, such as Apple, HP & Dell utilising USB-C in their latest products, USB-C will likely be the new industry standard connector for transmitting both power and data through one single cable4. Apple’s MacBook models, created after 2015, already have USB-C ports for charging and data transfer, suggesting that the days of having a range of ports on a laptop could soon be over. Although many peripherals still use older USB connections, USB-C is here to stay and will soon become the standard connector in most devices. USB-C could be the future and it is something to keep a close eye on.
Android from version 6.0 onwards works with USB 3.1 and USB-C.
Chrome OS, starting with the Chromebook Pixel 2015, supports USB 3.1, USB-C, alternate modes, power delivery, and USB Dual-Role support.
FreeBSD released the Extensible Host Controller Interface, supporting USB 3.0, with release 8.2
iOS from version 12.1 (iPad Pro 3rd generation or later, iPad Air 4th generation or later, iPad Mini 6th generation or later) onwards works with USB-C.
NetBSD began supporting USB 3.0 with release 7.2
Linux has supported USB 3.0 since kernel version 2.6.31 and USB version 3.1 since kernel version 4.6.
OpenBSD began supporting USB 3.0 in version 5.7
OS X Yosemite (macOS version 10.10.2), starting with the MacBook Retina early 2015, supports USB 3.1, USB-C, alternate modes, and power delivery.
Windows 8.1 added USB-C and billboard support in an update.
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