Feeds

Inside USB 3.0

What makes SuperSpeed tick

Gartner critical capabilities for enterprise endpoint backup

Adaptive equalisation also helps the host cope with controlling one set of USB 3.0 ports nearby at the front of a PC and with those mounted on the backplane, much further away and so connected over a greater length of wire.

USB 3.0 SuperSpeed

The wire: what links one USB 3.0 device to another

SuperSpeed USB will be the first interconnect to use this kind of technology. Even HDMI, which can transfer data at up to 3.4Gb/s, doesn't rely on it. HDMI is the closest high-speed data transfer system to USB 3.0 in that connections likewise run over cables whose quality and length the standard has no control over.

Compare that to buses like Sata and PCI Express 2.0 - on which USB 3.0 is largely based - where the lane lengths, while not set in stone, can be assumed to be very short with well-defined signal attenuation characteristics.

The USB 1.1 and USB 2.0 specifications defined maximum cable lengths of 3m and 5m, respectively. USB 3.0 knocks the maximum back down to 3m.

USB 3.0 - Cable Profile

Inside a USB 3.0 cable

That said, since USB 3.0 is backward compatible with 2.0, connecting your current thin-wired mouse to a USB 3.0 port isn't going to be a problem. Indeed, as you'll see from the picture above, the USB 3.0 cable contains a separate USB 1.1/2.0 Unshielded Twisted Pair (UTP) cord - more on this crucial component later.

And the mouse's USB connector will still work too, mechanically and electrically. The basic USB 3.0 'Standard A' connector looks like today's big USB plugs - it's just longer, to accommodate five extra, rear-mounted pins which will mate up correctly in a standard USB 3.0 socket. Insert a USB 2.0 port instead, and the device will still work, just at the 'old' 480Mb/s speed.

Bus Architecture

SuperSpeed's Standard A port pair

Those extra pins provide a second ground connection, plus two pairs of lines, one for sending data the other for receiving it. Having separate wires for transmission and for reception means USB 3.0 links can be used to read and write data simultaneously - 'dual simplex' signalling, in the jargon, compared to USB 2.0's 'half duplex' operation. Previous versions of USB had two data wires, but they could only operate as uplinks or downlinks at any given time, not both.

Boost IT visibility and business value

More from The Register

next story
Apple takes blade to 13-inch MacBook Pro with Retina display
Shaves price, not screen on mid-2014 model
iPhone 6 flip tip slips in Aussie's clip: Apple's 'reversible USB' leaks
New plug not compatible with official Type-C, according to fresh rumors
FEAST YOUR EYES: Samsung's Galaxy Alpha has an 'entirely new appearance'
Wow, it looks like nothing else on the market, for sure
YES YES YES! Apple patents mousy, pressure-sensing iVibrator
Fanbois prepare to experience the great Cupertin-O
Steve Jobs had BETTER BALLS than Atari, says Apple mouse designer
Xerox? Pff, not even in the same league as His Jobsiness
TV transport tech, part 1: From server to sofa at the touch of a button
You won't believe how much goes into today's telly tech
Apple analyst: fruity firm set to shift 75 million iPhones
We'll have some of whatever he's having please
Things are looking up in Flappy Bird sequel
'Swing Copters' offers the same gameplay but in a different direction
prev story

Whitepapers

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup
IT departments are embracing cloud backup, but there’s a lot you need to know before choosing a service provider. Learn all the critical things you need to know.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Build a business case: developing custom apps
Learn how to maximize the value of custom applications by accelerating and simplifying their development.
Rethinking backup and recovery in the modern data center
Combining intelligence, operational analytics, and automation to enable efficient, data-driven IT organizations using the HP ABR approach.
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.