Multipurpose Cables – CompTIA A+ 220-1001 – 3.1

| January 6, 2019


We use various multipurpose cables to connect printers, mobile phones, and many other devices. In this video, you’ll learn about some of the most popular multipurpose cables used today.

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We use many different cables to connect our keyboards, our tablets, our mobile phones, and many other devices. In this video, we’ll look at these multi-purpose cables.

If you have a hardware device such as a phone or a tablet from Apple, then you’re probably connecting that device with a Lightning cable. This is an Apple proprietary connector, so you won’t see this type of connection used on anybody else’s hardware– this is only for Apple devices. It’s an eight-pin connector at the end and it sends digital signals most commonly through a cable to connect iPhones, iPads, iPods, and other Apple devices.

Although this is about the same size as a micro USB, connection there are a number of advantages which is what drove Apple to use the Lightning connector over USB. One is that it’s able to output higher amount of power. So it’s able to charge phones and tablets a bit faster than micro USB.

This can also be inserted either way. With micro USB, you have to make sure to insert it the correct way. With Lightning, it doesn’t matter. You can flip it over and plug it in and it will work exactly the same. Because of that, it’s a bit more simpler of a design and Apple is able to make it a bit more durable than a traditional USB cable.

If you’re connecting up a peripheral device to your computer, especially a storage device or a video display, you might be using a Thunderbolt connection. This is a high-speed serial connection where it is able to put data and power over the same cable. It’s based on the many display ports standard or NDP standard.

Thunderbolt Version 1 is able to send data over two channels. And it’s able to have 10 gigabits per second on each one of those channels for a total maximum throughput of 20 gigabits per second. And Thunderbolt version 1 uses this Mini DisplayPort connection.

The throughput for Thunderbolt 2 is also 20 gigabits per second, but it’s over an aggregation of channels rather than two separate 10 gigabit per second channels. And Thunderbolt version 2 also uses the standard Mini DisplayPort connection.

Thunderbolt Version 3 increased the throughput up to 40 gigabits per second aggregated throughput, and it also changed the connector type to a USB C connection. Thunderbolts Version 1, 2, and 3 have a maximum copper cable distance of about three meters. There is also an optical standard for Thunderbolt that allows you to extend this distance up to 60 meters. And Thunderbolt also allows the daisy-chaining of devices from one to the other, and you can daisy-chain up to six different devices using the single connection from your computer.

USB is the Universal Serial Bus, and has become one of the most popular connectors on our devices. It’s able to connect printers and keyboards and storage devices and much more. USB 1.1 was one of the first versions of USB. There were two different speeds available with USB 1.1. The low speed, which allowed 1.5 megabits per second over a maximum cable length of three meters. There was also full speed USB, which transmitted at 12 megabits per second, and increased the size of the cable to about five meters.

USB 2.0 was a jump in speed up to 480 megabits per second, and again, the maximum cable length was somewhere around five meters of distance. One of the latest USB versions is USB 3.0. This is called SuperSpeed USB, and that’s because this transmits at five gigabits per second on a cable that’s about three meters in length. The standard for USB doesn’t specify an exact cable length, but the signals for your USB tend to work to about three meters or so of length.

USB 1.1 and USB 2.0 have these types of connectors associated with them– the Standard-A plug, which we’re all very familiar with which are standardized across many different USB versions. There’s the Standard-B plug which is a bit of a square plug– you often see this on peripherals such as printers. The Mini-B plug and the Micro-B plug are much smaller USB connectors, and we tend to see these on smaller components and mobile devices.

With USB 3.0, the form factor for the A plug remain the same as older USB versions. You can see that the standard B plug changed a bit with USB 3.0, as did the micro B plug, which became a bit wider. USB version 3.1 was released in July of 2013, and this brought SuperSpeed+, which allowed us to send a higher speed communication over Type-A and a new USB-C connector. This allowed for 10 gigabit per second speed, which was twice the available throughput as USB 3.0.

USB 3.2 was released in September of 2017, and this brought new data modes using this USB-C connection with speeds that went all the way up to 20 gigabits per second with USB 3.2.

USB-C connectors were a bit of a departure from the previous USB connections. We saw earlier all of the different types of connectors for USB 2.0 and USB 3.0. With USB-C, we have a connector that now doesn’t have a top or bottom– you can plug it in either way. And the single USB-C connection can replace all of those other connectors that we just saw.

Whenever you see a USB-C connection, though, that doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s a USB 3.1 connection. There has to be a set of standards associated with 3.1. The cable has to support 3.1 speeds, it has to provide greater than 7 and 1/2 watts of power on that cable, and it has to support something called alternate mode, which allows you to send other types of protocols through that same cable.

From a size comparison, you can see the USB-C plug is about the same size as the micro B and much smaller than the standard A plug for USB. If you have a requirement to connect to serial connections on a router, a switch, a firewall, or some other component, you may be using a DB-9 serial cable connection. The DB stands for D-subminiature B, and there are many different sizes– DA through DE.

This type of nine-pin connector is actually a DE-9, although the naming conventions may be DB-9 or DE-9. This type of connection usually since serial data over an RS-232 connection– stands for a Recommended Standard 232. If you’re connecting up a modem or you’re connecting to a management port on another device, you’re probably using a serial connection like this one. It’s commonly used as a console port or a management port on those types of devices.

Category: CompTIA A+ 220-1001

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