USB Type C aka USB-C is a new type of USB connector that is getting popular these days in both smartphones and laptops for their high transfer speeds and easy connectivity (You can connect it in any direction you want and it will still work!). In this article, we will try to explain to you what a USB Type C connector and cable is and why everyone are moving to them.
USB-C is a set of new form of USB connectors that comes in two forms namely:
USB Type C Receptacle
USB Type C Plug
Usually, the USB-C Receptacles are found in devices such as laptops while USB-C Plugs are found in smartphones. We will then use a USB Type C cable to connect our smartphone to the laptop.
Why do we need to use a USB-C over micro-USB?
A USB device such as a USB mouse, USB keyboard, USB Pen drives etc all talk to our computers or smartphones using a special language called USB protocol. This USB protocol is designed by an organization called USB Implementers Forum or USB IF for short.
The USB protocol has been evolving over the years and its latest protocol was designed and revealed by USB IF recently. This new protocol called USB 3.0 has increased the speed at which data gets transferred between the computer and USB devices (like smartphones, USB stick) from 480 Mbps in the earlier USB 2.0 specification to 5 Gbps in USB 3.0 specification! This is a huge increase in speed of data transfer between the devices and hence using USB 3.0 was a major upgrade over USB 2.0
USB Type-C is a new type of USB connector that was released almost at the same time as when the new USB 3.0 specification was released. So almost all the USB device manufacturers who wanted to use USB 3.0 specification also adopted USB Type-C connector instead of the usual micro USB connectors used with USB 2.0
Hence, USB-C connector has recently become synonymous to USB 3.0, although you will still be able to find devices with USB-C connector still following USB 2.0 specification.
This has also given raise to a myriad of problems and confusions in terms of choosing the appropriate USB 3.0 cables which we will address and explain how to identify them in the future articles.
How exactly is USB 3.0 connector different from micro USB connector?
A simple micro USB connector which we have all been using all these years simply had 5 pins within itself where two pins were used to power the device (Vcc, Gnd), two more pins where used to transfer the data (D+ and D-) and a final pin was used to detect the device type (Mode Detect).
However, in case of a USB Type-C connector, we have 24 pins in total, each of which had a unique role to play in the data exchange and charging of devices. So in simple terms, USB Type-C connector increased the pin numbers within each connector from 5 pins earlier in micro USB to 24 pins now in USB Type-C connector!
In the upcoming articles, we will go in detail to understand how USB 3.0 protocol works with the new USB-C or USB Type-C connector and how it achieves the extra-ordinary speed of 5 Gbps data transfers, but for now, this should give you enough idea on the USB-C connector type and its difference from the earlier micro USB connector.