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In this blog, we will be discussing the different types of connections you need to know for the A+ exam. First off, let’s look at some of the connections that use a physical connection, also known as Wired Connections:

First, let’s look at the omnipresent wired connection type, USB (Universal Serial Bus). This format has many subformats, changing the shape and speed that they communicate with.

The newest version (That is commercially available at the least) is USB C, most new phones (*Cough* Except Apple *Cough*) ((More on what they are doing instead later)) use USB C due to many of the benefits it brings over Micro USB that was in vogue not so long ago. Let’s talk about those benefits now. The main benefit of USB C is the speed, reaching 10 Gb/s, that is Gigabits per second, not Gigabytes (So divide by 8 for a number that a real person would use) They also have the benefit of being reversible, so the days of trying to plug in a USB, realizing that you have it upside down, switching it, realizing that you had it right the first time, switching again, and then finally plugging it in, are over. (A problem I assume everyone has had in the past) Often times, you will see a USB C to USB C cable, so that you can get even faster rates, as both ports are now faster.

Older phones, as discussed before, would use Micro USB, if you own an Android phone from before ~2017 you probably still use this one.The transfer speed for one of these is rated at 480 Mb/s, once again that is MegaBits not MegaBytes, so divide by 8 for the real number. Doing the math, that is a staggering 20x decrease from USB C, so what would take you 1 minute to transfer over USB C might take up to 20 minutes on Micro USB.

If we go back further, you will find Mini USB, which I’ve mostly seen being used on cameras from the early 2000s. The main difference between this one and Micro USB is just form factor, the Mini is slightly bigger than Micro and doesn’t really see any use because of the lack of difference.

(As a side note as this is not one of the cables talked about for A+, but it is good to know, there is also USB B, and it is a square plug that you almost never see outside of printers and scanners, but that is a pretty important thing to note if you are going to be doing any work with printers or scanners)

The last thing we will discuss in this blog is Apple’s aforementioned proprietary connection system. Apple uses Lightning cables, a type of cable that only works on Apple products, but behaves very similar to a Micro USB cable, having the same transfer speed. It does have the reversibility of a USB C however, but lacks the speed USB C provides as well. This might not be relevant too much longer, as the European Union is trying to force all smart phones to use USB C to standardize everything, and even Apple themselves are switching away from it in some of their products (The MacBook now uses USB C for example)

Well, that’s it for this blog, but check back for the next one where we will discuss the various different wireless connections that can be made.