Improvements and challenges of USB 3.0

USB 3.0 is the next generation of plug and play digital interfaces, and with it comes a number of improvements, as well as challenges. In looking at the differences between USB 3.0 and USB 2.0, a number of these immediately come to mind.

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USB 3.0 is the next generation of plug and play digital interfaces, and with it comes a number of improvements, as well as challenges.

In looking at the differences between USB 3.0 and USB 2.0, the following improvements are notable:

  • Higher bandwidth (400MB/s vs 40MB/s). USB 3.0 is approximately 10 times faster than USB 2.0, which has enabled machine vision camera vendors to build high throughput USB 3.0 cameras.
  • Increased power delivery and reduced power consumption. USB 3.0 is designed to reduce power consumption while increasing its capacity to support and deliver more power. In addition, the USB battery charging 1.2 specification allows up to 7.5W of power to be supplied to USB 3.0 devices.
  • Connectors and cabling. USB 3.0 adds five wires for a total of nine and utilizes a unicast dual-simplex data interface that allows for two uni-directional data pipes, which each pipe handling communication for a single direction. In addition, as part of the USB3 Vision spec, a Micro-B screw-locking mechanism has been standardized.
  • Communication and image transfer. Many USB 3.0 cameras are incorporating frame buffer technology to improve data communication and reduce image corruption. This helps the camera to utilize the error correction built in to bulk transfer and retransmit the corrupt data packets. USB 3.0 also reduces transmission latency by minimizing polling, lowering CPU usage, and allowing devices to transmit data once it is ready.

While these improvements are significant, a number of challenges still remain when it comes to USB 3.0. To read about these challenges, and to learn more about USB 3.0, check out this Point Grey white paper.

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