Universal Serial Bus 2.0

What Does Universal Serial Bus 2.0 Mean?

Universal serial bus (USB) is a hardware serial interface used to connect peripheral devices to computers and other digital devices.


USB 2.0 was introduced in October 2000 and is the second generation of Universal Serial Bus (USB). It was the standard version of the USB interface that was commonly used from 2000 until the release of USB 3.0 in 2008.

USB is one of the most widely used external interfaces of its kind. USB became the dominant standard for attaching peripherals to a computer as early as the late twentieth century. The USB 2.0 data port (like earlier and successive versions) is used to connect a variety of peripheral devices, such as:

  • Mice
  • Keyboards
  • Printers
  • Scanners
  • External hard drives
  • Video game consoles
  • Digital cameras
  • Mobile devices
  • Network adapters

Another widespread and convenient USB device is the flash drive or memory stick.

Techopedia Explains Universal Serial Bus 2.0

A USB device can be plugged into a USB port to accommodate easy device connection. In many cases, it can also be used as a power supply for direct current (DC), in connecting equipment such as speakers or battery chargers to “anchor” devices like laptop computers. As it evolved, this practical software evolution eliminated many small barriers to effectively using USB ports, including various check-ins and protocols for connecting and disconnecting USB cables.

The tenure of USB 2.0 as a leading standard lasted from 2000 to 2008. During that time, the USB format continued to replace a variety of cable and terminal connections as billions of devices were built with one or more USB ports. Software companies also continued to refine the drivers and compatibility software for USB-connected device pairs. The USB 2.0 standard can support up to 127 devices and has three different data transfer rates (DTRs):

  • Low speed: For keyboards and mice with a DTR at 1.5 Mbps
  • Full speed: The USB 1.1 standard rate with a DTR at 12 Mbps
  • High speed: The USB 2.0 standard rate with a DTR at 480 Mbps

USB 2.0 also has a variety of features, including plug-and-play integration and the ability to transfer files between devices with less protocol, as mentioned above. It is also hot-swappable, has increased DTRs compared to USB 1.1, and is backward-compatible with USB 1.1. USB 2.0 is generally considered to have had a signal rate of 480 MB/s, though variations were determined by various factors in its advancement.

During the emergence of USB 2.0, various changes were rolled out. For example, in 2007, a new standard USB 2.0 High-Speed Inter Chip (HSIC) used a chip-to-chip alternative and removed analog transceivers found in previous versions.

Overall, USB 2.0 and successive protocols steadily became more of a universal standard for device connectivity. This has led to less specialized cable production and lower volumes of electronic waste, as well as more convenience and flexibility for users.


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Margaret Rouse
Technology Expert

Margaret is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical business audience. Over the past twenty years, her IT definitions have been published by Que in an encyclopedia of technology terms and cited in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine, and Discovery Magazine. She joined Techopedia in 2011. Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages.