USB Jargon and Terminology Explained

USB drives are great technology devices which can be used for many different purposes. USB's have been with us since 1996 yet still many people do not know exactly how they work or understand a lot of the jargon and/or terminology that surround USB's.

Let's start straight away explaining what USB stands for. Universal Serial Bus is the long version of the term USB we have all heard of. This article will explain some of the USB jargon and terminology many of us do not understand.


A power port is an item that many people using portable pieces of technology will have seen before. It is simply a port that is used to allow you through a USB port connection to charge varying devices such as DVD players and laptops.

Storage space

Perhaps the most confusing jargon associated with USB devices that many do not understand is all the numbers in terms of storage. Of course people realise that a 32GB USB drive contains more space than a 4GB USB drive. However many do not realise what these terms stand for and how they affect you.

Storage space decides how much data your USB drive can hold.

The two abbreviations for storage you will most likely come across with USBs are MBs and GBs. A MB is a megabyte and a GB is a gigabyte. A byte simply put is a piece of storage space and a megabyte is a million bytes whilst a gigabyte is a thousand megabytes.

Therefore having a 4GB USB drive is far bigger than a 128MB USB drive. When it comes to picking a USB drive based on its size be sure to check out our blog post about what size you would require.

USB 1, 2 Or 3?

USBs like any pieces of technology are updated over time to make them better and the three main updates to USBs have led to a series of version numbers. The USB 1.0 is simply the first version of USBs we received in 1996.

The USB 2.0 was the update to the initial set of USB devices and was released in 2000. The latest version of USB devices that we are currently using is the USB 3.0 which was released in 2008.

With these updates the shape of the actual connection has changed for example with the USB 1.0 to 2.0. Between these 3 major revisions of the USB device there were versions such as 2.1 and more like this but these are the three major versions to look out for.

USB Speed

The main updates to USB devices allowed them to transfer data a lot faster than former USB devices were capable of. For example the USB 2.0 had speeds of transferring data at 480 MB/s which means per second. As USB devices get updated this speed changes.

In basic terms the faster the transferring speed is on the USB drive the faster you can transfer a document from your computer onto the USB drive.

Memory Stick

A term many people will have used to describe the USB drive is a memory stick. A USB drive is the proper term for the device but a memory stick is exactly the same thing. If you have ever wandered what the difference is then you now know there is none!

Is it a memory stick or a USB drive? It's both!

USB Port

Many people would not be able to tell you what a USB port is even though they use them all the time. A USB port is simply the part of your computer which allows you to connect a USB connector into it. USB ports are standard on all computers allowing many peripheral devices ranging from speakers to keyboards to connect to a computer.


USB hubs are devices that allow a single USB port to become a port that many other USB connections can be connected to. USB hubs are very useful when you may be short of USB ports to use.


As with all technology there can be many confusing terms that you just have no idea what they mean. USBs are no different but we hope today you have been helped to understand a lot better the terminology used in the world of USBs.

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