USB 3.1-Plug, speed, release

With USB 3.1, the serial universal transmission reaches a maximum data rate of 10 Gbit/S. And the new Type C connector is finally usable on both sides. Everything you need to know about USB 3.1 at a glance.

Why USB 3Hier goes to matching products on!. 1 so important? USB has established itself as the most important port standard for all types of peripherals. Today there are hardly any devices that do not use the Universal serial bus in any way for data exchange, as a device connection or also for power supply. Other interfaces, such as the serial port, parallel ports, and FireWire, have practically disappeared. The only serious competition is Intel’s Thunderbolt. But this modern but also expensive connection variant plays virtually no role outside the Apple world.

USB 3.1: The speed doubles


Already USB 3.0 was a huge leap in the maximum transfer rate of 480 Mbit/s to 5 Gbit/S. USB 2.0 Here you can find suitable products on! was not even more fast enough for mechanical hard drives with 480 Mbit/s, but USB 3.0 is also sufficient for an SSD. In addition, devices connected to a USB 3.0 port are now provided at least 150 instead of 100 ma. Up to 900 ma are possible at a maximum of five volts, with USB 2.0 it was still 500 Ma.


USB 3.1 brings a doubling of power to up to 10 Gbit/s, sufficiently fast even for external drives with two SSDs in the RAID-0 network. In addition to this super speed plus mode, USB 3.1 also supports the “normal” 5 Gbit super speed and also the USB 2.0 standard as well as its predecessor.


With a 10 Gbit/s transfer rate, USB 3.1 is the same as the first version of Thunderbolt developed by Intel. The new Thunderbolt 2 will again deliver the double transfer rate with 20 Gbit/s. However, Thunderbolt and Thunderbolt require 2 expensive cables with electronic components in the plugs: a two meter long thunderbolt cable from Apple costs 39 euros. USB 3.1, on the other hand, does not have any active cables, but a two-metre cable requires about 10 euros.


USB Type C connector: Always fits

Who is not already kneeling under the desk, while trying to insert a USB plug right around on the back of his PC? Even worse is it at micro-USB. Here you can squeeze the plug with enough force even upside down into the socket. This ruined in the cheapest case only the plug, if you have bad luck but just the whole smartphone. The new Usb Type C connector can be plugged into its socket in both orientations, it works in any case. Here the USB implementors forum (USB-IF) has taken a sensible bond with Apple’s lightning plug, which is also the case.


With an area of about 8.4 x 2.6 mm required for the socket, the new type-C is hardly larger than USB 2.0 micro-B and thus also suitable for flat mobile devices such as smartphones or tablets. It’s more stable and supports super speed USB. So far, the wider USB 3.0 Micro B connector was required.


In addition to a 15-wire cable for super speed and super speed plus connections, the Type C specification also provides cheaper cables with five wires for USB 2.0 connections. The plugs and sockets are here, unlike micro-USB, but identical.


The previous USB plugs and sockets are still part of the USB 3.1 specification and will not be completely replaced by type-C. There are also countless USB devices with older ports. For the connection between these, there will therefore be a whole series of adapter cables and connectors: for USB 3.1 from C to standard A, standard B and micro-B, for USB 2.0, there should be cables of C from standard A, standard B, micro-B and even mini-B.


The USB Type C connector can be used on both sides of the USB 3.0 connector. Gross is a 10 Gbit/s data transfer rate. In practice, about half of them are achieved.

In addition, an adapter with a standard a socket and a mini-B socket is provided. The first is to support super Speed USB, the second is USB 2.0 only.


Versatile: The alternative modes for USB Type-C

In addition to the pure data transfer, USB Type-C can also do other tasks. They are implemented via functional extensions, so-called alternative modes. The first of these alternative modes is the audio adapter accessory mode. It is intended to make the 3.5-mm audio socket superfluous for future devices and also to work across USB hubs. For connecting conventional headphones or loudspeakers, there will be a USB Type C adapter with 3.5 mm audio jack.


The diagonally symmetrical arrangement of the connectors at USB-type-c ensures that a USB connector can no longer be plugged in upside down. A connection always comes into being.

The display port alternative mode uses the USB cable to transmit audio and video. If two of the four high-speed lanes in the cable are used for the display port transmission of 4k video, then the other two can still transfer super Speed USB with 5 Gbit/S. At 5k-video, only USB 2.0 is possible at the same time.


Full power ahead: Power via USB

Normally, a USB 3.0 or 3.1 port is designed to supply connected devices with a maximum of 900 ma at 5 volts, i.e. 4.5 watts. Of course, this is not enough for many devices, which are therefore dependent on an additional power supply. In the case of USB connections that follow the USB power delivery specification (USB-PD) already approved in 2012, up to 100 watts can flow through the USB cable. In order to cover also USB type-C, a version 2.0 of the specification has just been adopted.

The USB PD specification defines five different profiles that can be used to supply devices via USB with 10, 18, 36, 60 or 100 watts. However, micro-A/b connections are limited to a maximum of three amps and thus 60 watts. With Type A/b and type C connections, up to five amps can flow at 20 volts.