The Universal Serial Bus (USB) has been around for a number of years, and its creation has solved the problem of a lack of or incompatible connections available to link computer peripherals to a computer.
Before USB was available, most devices were required to connect to a computer by using parallel and serial ports. These two ports have been around for 2 decades, serving effectively in linking computer peripherals to a computer.
Unfortunately there was a problem: a standard computer has only 1 or 2 serial ports and one parallel port. This severely limited the number of computer peripherals that could be attached to a single computer.
Thus, if a user wanted to connect a joystick, printer, and scanner, they might require the use of every port installed on their computer. Since these ports also require the computer to be powered off before any connections can be made or broken, switching peripherals was inconvenient.
Even more problematic was that the data transmission rate between these devices and the computer was prohibitively slow for any but the oldest devices.
The first USB version released is called USB 1.1, and transmits data at the rate of 12 Mbps. Later USB 2.0 was released, a product of the joint effort of leading computer and electronic companies like Microsoft, Intel, Hewlett-Packard, Apple Computer, and Lucent.
It allows data transfer speeds of up to 480 Mbps, 40 times faster its predecessor, while maintaining backward compatibility with USB 1.1 devices.
This has generated significantly increased efficiency in terms of data uploading and downloading.
Modern computer peripherals use USB connectivity as the industry standard. Nearly every newer device is built for USB 2.0, though devices with 1.1 USB are still widely in use.