Usb Explained

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The Universal Serial Bus (USB) is a low-to-high-speed technology that provides a shared-access, highly available, robust, self-configuring, extensible, and easy-to-use serial bus that is host-computer independent and consistent across computer architectures. The advent of multimedia and the proliferation of relatively inexpensive processing power has left the venerable RS-232 a relic of times past. The USB was invented and standardized by a group of computer manufacturers and peripheral vendors in early 1995 under the auspices of an organization called the Universal Serial Bus Implementers Forum. It's goal was to define a high-speed serial bus technology to replace, or phase out, the existing RS-232 serial port technology. Today's serial bus technology must cover a full range of technology that can deliver everything from digital joysticks for high-precision game playing, to digital audio peripherals to high-resolution "live" video inupt and output devices to data networks and telephony equipment. The USB can do all of this at speeds faster than the RS-232 serial port was designed to handle. The biggest difference between a single-ended serial port (like RS-232) and a serial bus like the USB is that the traditional serial port is a point-to-point connection between a computer and a device, whereas on a "serial bus" many devices can communicate and share the connection to the computer. In the USB, up to 128 bus devices can simultaneously communicate with the host computer.
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Editorial Reviews

Explains what the Universal Serial Bus (USB) is and how USB devices work, as well as how the USB standard delivers easy peripheral expansion, fast data transfer, guaranteed bandwidth for multimedia and true plug-and-play support. A full half of the book is appendices of cables, connectors, buses, and pinouts. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780130811530
  • Publisher: Pearson Technology Group 2
  • Publication date: 9/24/1998
  • Pages: 372
  • Product dimensions: 7.50 (w) x 9.25 (h) x 0.77 (d)

Meet the Author

Steven McDowell is a Senior Engineer at NCR Corporation in West Columbia, SC, specializing in high-availability Windows NT Solutions. He has worked extensively in operating system and device driver development.

Martin Seyer is Vice President and General Manager at NCR Corporation, and author of the Prentice Hall PTR best-seller RS-232 Made Easy. A 20-year veteran of the computer industry, he has contributed to several serial communications patents.

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Read an Excerpt


What Is This Book?
This is a book about the Universal Serial Bus, or USB. The USB was designed by the computer industry to replace the ailing and ancient RS-232 serial-port technology. The USB is bigger, faster, and better. It's built to handle the demands of audio and video. It's built to be hot pluggable. It's built to be plug-n-play. It's built to host a hundred or more devices at the same time, though it works wonderfully well with just a single device or two. Finally, it's built to be inexpensive enough to seamlessly become a part of the personal computer without burdening the PC owners.
This book explains exactly what the USB is and how it works. It does not explain how to write software for the USB. We'll leave it up to Sun, Apple, and Microsoft to tell us how to write code for their platforms. This is a "concepts" book. If you want to know how it works under the hood, then you picked up the right book. You will get a lot of detail about how the bus and its devices all communicate and keep things straight, but you won't see any state or timing diagrams that require an engineering degree to understand.

Who Is This Book For?
The book was written first and foremost with the curious end user in mindā€” someone who wants to understand how the USB works under the hood. It is technical enough, however, and explores the standard well enough that it will make an ideal companion to the USB specification for practicing engineers and software developers. In short, this book is for anyone who wants a complete treatment of the Universal Serial Bus in easy-to-understand terms.

The book takes a top-down approach to the Universal Serial Bus. The first two chapters provide an overview of the USB in general and the USB within a host computer in particular. Chapter 3 talks about setting up USB hardware and all the issues associated with that. Chapter 4 takes us inside a USB Hub. Chapter 5 takes us inside a USB Device. Chapter 6 is dedicated to explaining what actually happens "on the wire"ā€” the USB protocols that keep everything communicating. The main part of the book is rounded out with chapters describing USB on the most popular computer operating systems (Chapter 7) and answering frequently asked questions (Chapter 8). Appendix A provides a comprehensive list of where to go for USB devices and software. Appendices C through F cover some of the more technical aspects of the USB protocols. Readers are encouraged to read and understand the material in Chapter 2, "USB Concepts," and then go to the part of the book that describes what is of particular interest to them. A complete treatment of the subject, though, should include review of each chapter.

Universal Serial Bus Standards and Terminology
This book describes the Universal Serial Bus as described in version 1.0 of the Universal Serial Bus Specification from the USB Implementers Forum. Even though the book does not mirror the organization of the specification, every attempt is made to be consistent with the terminology and concepts used in the specification. Inconsistent terminology is used in a few instances when it makes a concept or technique easier to understand; terminology from the standard is included also. The terms "Universal Serial Bus" and "USB" are interchangeable within this work.

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Table of Contents

Listing of Figures
Ch. 1 Introduction 1
Ch. 2 USB Concepts 11
Ch. 3 USB Inside Your Computer 39
Ch. 4 Inside a USB Hub 65
Ch. 5 Inside a USB Device 81
Ch. 6 On the Wire 103
Ch. 7 USB in the Windows World 123
Ch. 8 Frequently Asked Questions 133
App. A USB Device and Tool Manufacturers 139
App. B Glossary of USB Terms 150
App. C USB Cables and Common Industry-Standard Cables 157
App. D Common Connectors, Pinouts, and Numbering Schemes for USB and Other Ports 169
App. E Description of Common Buses 177
App. F Pinouts of Common Buses and Ports 220
Index 333
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