Take the Bus!

Take the Bus!


The word “bus” has its etymological roots in the word “omnibus” and first appeared in the English language in the earliest part of the 19th Century. We didn’t “miss the bus” until the beginning of the 20th Century, and we didn’t “bus tables” until the very edge of World War I was upon us. But the electrical bus we discuss here had to wait until Niklola Tesla and Thomas Edison finished their feud and ushered in the age of technology!

In electronic and computer terminology, “bus” is used to describe an electrical connection between a host (the source of the information, service, or power) and the devices attached to and dependent on the host for functionality (properly termed nodes). We may hear the term “bus” referenced to any part of this connectivity system, from the wire or fiber to the circuit-board traces! In your home there is a “bus bar” in your electrical breaker box, but you won’t find a bar tender serving drinks there. I know. I’ve looked.

Inside of a computer we’ll find a “local bus.” The local bus connects the CPU to all of the gizmos (technical term) that do stuff, such as capturing the keystrokes as I type this blog entry, access the hard drive to store what I’ve typed, and play back some hot jazz (right now it’s the Horace Silver Quintet) to keep me entertained while I think of the next thing to write.

The most important bus for us (other than the one that brings us to the office) is the peripheral bus, and in particular the Universal Serial Bus. Last year the USB Implementor’s Forum published the newest USB standard – version 3.1. And just this week the USB-IF released the much anticipated USB Type-C connector specification. Here is what they say about the new connector:
“With the continued success of the USB interface, there exists a need to adapt USB technology to serve newer computing platforms and devices as they trend toward smaller, thinner and lighter form-factors. Many of these newer platforms and devices are reaching a point where existing USB receptacles and plugs are inhibiting innovation, especially given the relatively large size and internal volume constraints of the Standard-A and Standard-B versions of USB connectors.”

The new Type-C connector has immediate and profound implications for both the A/V and the desktop technology communities. First and foremost, the new standards will increase both the power and the power delivery options of the USB bus, allowing for upstream charging of devices like laptops and integrated computer/tablet solutions. And the new connector, being lighter and smaller, even brings another new trick to this old bus – it can be inserted upside down or downside up!

If you want to know more about USB, and communication buses in general, join us for a fascinating new training topic titled Deploying USB, HDMI and DisplayPort Bus Powered Solutions in A/V System Design. Click here to view the webinar or the slides. We'll also be premiering a special training topic Universal Serial Bus (USB) Deep Dive Technology Exploration for AV Design and Integration. And if that’s not enough, we’ll be tying together the story of the bus in an upcoming white paper guaranteed to make it to the top of your bedtime reading list! Stay tuned, there’s a lot more to say about busses.

photo credit: spieri_sf via photopin cc

Contributed By Joseph Cornwall

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Joe Cornwall

Joe Cornwall

In 200 characters or less, I've been doing this a LONG time.

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