Understanding the Different Types of USB Connectors and Their Applications

usb cables

USB cables are everywhere nowadays. Most devices use them to connect to one another and transfer data. But you may be surprised at just how many different types there are available. Here’s our quick guide to the three general USB connection types that you may encounter, and how to use them in the most applicable ways:

USB Type-A

If you have ever plugged a USB device into your computer, then chances are you did so using a USB Type-A connection. These are the most common types of USB connections and can be found with USB keyboards, mice, microphones, and thousands of other devices. These cables provide great universality for most applications.

USB Type-B

USB Type-B cables are very unique, and not as common as the other types of connections. This connector is almost square in shape, containing four pins for USB 1.1 and 2.0 cables, and 9 pins on USB 3.0 cables. These are most commonly used for electronics like printers, audio interfaces, microphones, and external hard drives.

A variation of type-B connector that are much more popular is Micro USB. While they aren’t typically referred to as “type-b,” they’re still considered a variation of this type of connector. These are usually found to charge and connect mainly portable electronics like phones, wireless-headphones, e-readers, portable power banks, and other devices that need charging.

USB Type-C

Thanks to USB Type-C connectors, this technology is now more flexible and compatible than ever before. This type of cable has grown in popularity over the years and is quickly becoming the new standard when it comes to USB connectivity. USB Type-C cables provide fast transfer speeds and are perfect for expanding a laptop. As an additional bonus benefit, USB Type-C cables are popular because they are compatible with Macs and other electronics that support Thunderbolt 3. For maximum flexibility across all your devices, consider picking up a USB Type-C cable.

Whatever your intentions may be, these cables are incredibly powerful tools and are essential for transferring data between devices. If you are in need of cables with any connectors or variation, USB 2.0 cables, USB 3 cables, or any of the newest USB cables on the market, then finding a trustworthy supplier is imperative. With years of experience in the industry, we are here to help you find the cables that are right for you and your workplace.

The Different Types of HDMI Cables and When to Use Them

category 5 cable

While most people are well aware of category 5 cables and other networking cables, the different types of HDMI cables are often overlooked. According to the Pew Research Center, 77% of Americans go online daily, 43% say they go online several times per day, and 26% say they’re online almost constantly. With these numbers, you might assume that most people are informed when it comes to using HDMI cables for their internet activity. But this is not the case. If you are using any type of highspeed HDMI cables, it is important to know the different types and when it is appropriate to use a certain type to meet your needs.

Here’s a basic overview that you should consider when you need an HDMI cable:

Standard HDMI cables

As the name suggests, this type of High Definition Multimedia Interface cable is the most common type that you will encounter. These cables are used to convey audio and video from a larger device to a screen. Most often you will see standard HDMI cables used for desktop computers, laptops, gaming systems, and projectors.

There is another kind of HDMI cable that belongs to this class. It is known as HDMI high-speed with Ethernet. These cables essentially support the transmission of higher quality visual data, such as deeper colors and better resolution.

Mini HDMI cables

Going down the list, mini HDMI cables allow for high-quality media display from devices that have smaller ports. These ports, known as mini ports, are often found on devices such as tablets. What’s surprising about mini HDMI cables is that they still offer a rich, high-quality resolution.

Micro HDMI cables

Finally, micro HDMI cables have an even smaller connector which is known as a micro connector. These ports can be found on tablets that are smaller than the standard sized tablet. Micro HDMI cables are also seeing a rise in popularity because they allow for media to be displayed from smartphones.

Next time you are thinking about using a category 5 cable, an HDMI cable, or any other type of cable, remember to choose the proper one for your needs. It makes all the difference in the quality and performance of your devices.

What is Thunderbolt?

what is thunderbolt

Technology runs our lives. It is a tool that allows us to create and experience things that were previously impossible for some. This quintessential part of our society has developed greatly over the years, growing into something that enables us to live our lives to the fullest.

With the inspirational speech aside, it’s helpful to understand the tools that allow us to create and experience these wonderful things. Thunderbolt is a technology that is constantly stretching the hardware capabilities of how we can transfer data, becoming something that consumers search for when buying a new computer.

So what is Thunderbolt, and why is it so important?

The History

Thunderbolt technology (originally named “Light Peak”) was developed by Intel in the late 2000s to incorporate optical data into traditional data transfer methods (combining wire and fiber optics). This technology allowed for faster data transfer rates for these two methods, packaged nicely into one port.

Thunderbolt 1 was the first iteration of this. The transfer speed started out at 10Gpbs, using the same connector type as a Mini Displayport. The second version, which was released in June of 2013, was mainly to enable the transfer and display of 4K video files. This version doubled the previous’s speed, upping data transfer speeds to 20 Gbps, still using the Mini Displayport connector. Finally, Thunderbolt 3 started to ship in late 2015. Instead of fighting with the growing popularity of USB-C, Intel decided to join it. Now incorporated into USB-C, Thunderbolt 3 doubles the previous speed once more, now up to 40Gbps.

Benefits of Thunderbolt

Here are a few reasons you may want to consider investing in a computer with Thunderbolt capabilities:

  • Power Supply: Thunderbolt 3 supports up to 100 Watts of power transfer, charging everything from phones to laptops. This allows you to use the same charger for multiple devices, decreasing the number of things you need to carry with you on a daily basis.
  • Many Peripherals:Thunderbolt 3 allows you to connect up to 6 devices daisy-chained through a single port. This includes your typical keyboards and mice, but also monitors and graphics cards. This can help transform your laptop into a fully-fledged desktop.
  • Data Transfer:If you’re someone who transfers a lot of data physically from one source to another (like a photographer or videographer), then Thunderbolt 3 is the way to go, providing you with up to 40 Gbps of data transfer.
  • Multiple Displays:With Thunderbolt 3, you can connect two 4K 60Hz monitors through one port, allowing you to expand your productivity. Paired with a laptop, you can get 3 screens with only one port.

Thunderbolt 3 is a wonderful development for everyone, from those who enjoy video games to those who are creative professionals, and everyone in between. When choosing your next laptop, be sure to check if it has Thunderbolt 3. You won’t regret your decision.

Using the Right Cables for Your Digital Camera Stills and Videos

100 ft hdmi cable

Taking photos and videos with a digital camera is a process that requires careful attention to both move your work safely and effectively, and to view it in a way that does not hinder its quality. For both applications, using the correct USB and HDMI cables is critical. Whether you are just looking to move photos to a hard drive or display them on a large screen, it helps to know what type of cable will get the job done right.

Using the right USB cables for transferring

When you take a lot of photos or videos, it is important that you have a way of transferring them to an external device or hard drive in a reliable, speedy manner. Using a newer USB cable is an excellent way to achieve this. If your camera has a port for USB Type-C cables, that is your best bet if speed is a top priority. For those who have a smaller budget, or equipment that is not as new, then micro or mini USB cables can be used to offload content.

Using the right HDMI cables for viewing

Using a 100 ft HDMI cable or the latest zipcord fiber optic cable becomes even more interesting when you look at the history of fiber optic cables. The very first fiber optic cable connected the U.S. to France and Britain in 1988 — since then, hundreds more have been installed all over the world. High Definition Multimedia Interface or HDMI cables have become the cable of choice for photographers and videographers of all kinds when it comes time to view their work on a larger display. Plus, they are great for seamless viewing of all your favorite TV shows and movies!

The latest highspeed HDMI cables allow you to view photos and videos directly from most modern cameras. Investing in a 100 ft HDMI cable can even give you lots of flexibility and range of motion for your viewing. HDMI high-speed with Ethernet gives you even faster transfer speeds and access to higher display resolutions so that you do not have to sacrifice quality when it comes to displaying your photos and videos.

The next time you need to offload pictures and videos from your camera, or connect it to a larger display for viewing, make sure you are using the right cables. It all starts with finding a supplier that can help you get high-quality, dependable cables. Whether you are in need of a 100 ft HDMI cable, a USB 3 cable, a charging cable, or any other type of DisplayPort cables, do not hesitate to reach out and get in touch with a member of our team.

Basic Technology and Cables You Need to Operate an Effective Workplace

75 ft ethernet cable

Operating a streamlined workplace environment can be a challenge. With obstacles inherent in day-to-day operations, you should never have to tussle with old, outdated, or inefficient technology. Unfortunately, many people place their focus on showy gadgets while ignoring the more foundational pieces of technology that provide them with greater overall productivity. Make sure you get these pieces right before you branch out to investing in more flashy technology solutions.

Ethernet Cables

If you have not upgraded your Ethernet cables in a while, then it’s probably a good time to consider doing so. Depending on the nature of your internet usage and your goals, your Ethernet cables could be holding you back. Whether you need smaller cables to connect devices that are close to another, or something longer such as a 75 ft Ethernet cable, you should always be on top of your cables, as they form the backbone of your network structure.

There are three main types of ethernet cables. The most basic is a Cat5 cable. While they are not the newest cable on the market, they will definitely outperform a basic WiFi connection in terms of speed. Cat5e cables provide an even quicker service. The “e” in Cat5e stands for enhanced, so be on the lookout for this if you are shopping around for a 75 ft ethernet cable that packs a little more punch. Finally, on the high end of ethernet cables are Cat6 cables. These cables provide the highest speeds, but tend to be a bit more costly. Whatever your needs are, there is a cable to address them — both in terms of network functionality and your budgetary concerns.

Cell Phone Accessories

In today’s world, it comes as no surprise that more and more business is being conducted via smart phones. This means that if you want to keep up, you need to make sure that your cell phone can operate at peak performance. While the phone and personal data plan you choose is key, you can also make upgrades through phone accessories. Perhaps the most important consideration is your phone charging cable. If you use your phone a lot, then you’ll want to be certain that your battery maintains a potent charge. Upgrading your cables and practicing intelligent phone charging ensures that you will always be available when you need to be. What’s more, providing these accessories to your employees at no cost will ensure they’ll always be able to attend to business matters without worrying about a low battery.

Surge Protectors

While you can control a number of elements in the office environment, you may not have any influence over the weather. And if a particularly bad storm rolls through, failing to protect your data ahead of time could be disastrous. You should always take joule numbers into account when you are searching for the right surge protector for computer protection and all the other electronics in your workplace. The number of joules listed for the surge protector represents the energy absorption rating. In this case, the more joules, the better. For a computer or for home theater equipment, you will want to consider surge protectors with joule ratings of 2500 or more. With proper surge protectors for computers and other types of electronic devices, you can rest assured in knowing that you are safe from potentially harmful power surges.

When you do your part to ensure that your technology is up to date, then you give yourself the best chances at operating an effective and productive workplace environment. If you are in need of a 75 ft ethernet cable, a surge protector, HDMI cables, or any other pieces of equipment for your workplace, then get in touch with us today.

4 Ways to Prevent Cable Management Chaos

usb cables

Cables are everywhere. We use them to charge our phones, power our electronics, and make our computers display images and emit sound. But when you have cables that do all of those things, they can pile up pretty quickly. If your cables are starting to get a little out of hand, here are a few cable management tips to help you out.

Invest in Cable Holders

Cable holders, as their name suggests, will hold cables in place on top of your desk. These tools include cable clips that can tie up all of those USB cables that are currently a tangled mess under your desk. Better yet, cable clips are portable, which means you can use them for cable management anywhere. Cable drops are designed for workstations and power users. Cable holders will help you keep your workstation organized and provide easy accessibility. Keyboards, chargers, and other external connectors will not tangle. Alternatively, you can buy a cable box where you put cables and place them beneath your workstation. Cable boxes come with a surge protector for keeping cable perfectly in squeezed spaces.

Tie Them Up

Tying USB cables up is an effective way to manage your wires. This way, rather than lying all over the floor, they’re bundled in a convenient, organized package. Cable straps are ideal for tying up your cables. The best part is they come in different colors to help you keep track of each type of cable you have. You can also tie cables with reusable Flexi-ties, which are incredibly tough and can hold any cord. In addition, they’re easy to undo and reuse if you decide you’d like to organize your cables in a different way.

Label Your Cables

With wires all over your desk, you can easily confuse which cord belongs where. But with cable labels, you will remember which wire belongs to which port. It can be infuriating to crawl under your desk to check which cords are connected where and to which device. If you’re not thrilled with the idea of writing out labels for each cable, consider using the color-coded cable straps we mentioned earlier. Not only will you be organized, but you’ll also have a much more aesthetically pleasing method of cable management.

Hide Your Cables

Tying or labeling cables will make them look good. If you have a desk that leaves your USB cables and other cords exposed, or you’re someone who loves a good color-coding project, labeling is probably the way to go. But if you’d rather keep your cables organized and out of sight, consider neatly hiding them away in a cable box. If you’re really pressed for time, consider decorating any old box you have lying around and neatly coiling your bundled cables up inside.

Whether you’re overwhelmed by USB cables or you’re just looking to have a more organized workplace, these cable management tips should help you out. Are you ready to get your cables under control?

Why Choosing the Right Surge Protector for Your Server Rack Is so Important

When you operate in a workplace that has a server rack, whether large or small, you have to take precautions to ensure that your server maintains safe and efficient performance throughout the workday and beyond. Investing in the right surge protectors is a vital consideration that a lot of businesses, unfortunately, miss. Here’s why choosing quality surge protectors for your server rack is so important:

Surge protectors safeguard your data

Because servers store so much sensitive data that is key to the function of your workplace and the security of your clientele, they carry a higher level of risk than a lot of other electronics. Sure, it is important to outfit surge protectors for computer equipment and other devices, but server racks require special attention.

While you cannot control the type of severe weather that leads to power surges, you can control your preparation for such events. If left unguarded, your server racks are prone to shutting down in the event of a power surge. This means that any data stored on your server is likely to go offline, causing you, your clients, and your staff an enormous amount of stress and uncertainty. Protecting your server rack and investing in quality equipment can help prevent all kinds of issues.

Surge protectors avoid damage to expensive equipment

You may find it helpful to think of your surge protectors as a form of insurance for your equipment. If you are wary of protecting expensive equipment such as a server rack, you are not alone. According to Electrical Safety Foundation International, 82% of surveyed professionals say that surge protection is a necessary aspect of protecting expensive equipment.

If you are concerned about having loose cables and wires all over the place, then you may want to look into a power strip that allows for vertical mounting. With more and more solutions available on the market, you should not have any trouble finding surge protectors of the highest quality to meet your needs while also cutting down on office clutter. The peace of mind of knowing that your server rack equipment will not be damaged in the event of a power surge is plenty of reason to spend time informing yourself about your options and focusing on quality.

As demonstrated above, choosing the right power strip surge protector will have an enormous impact on the safety, efficiency, and performance of your server rack. If you have been shopping around for surge protectors but you’re not sure how to make a final decision, reach out to us today. We would love to help you take the next step toward safeguarding your equipment and your data with a surge protector for computer equipment and server racks.

What Are the Different Types of Video Cables?

displayport

Whether you’re connecting your computer to a monitor or setting up your home entertainment system, choosing the right video cables is essential to make sure your experience is the best that it can be. With so many different types of cables and connections on the market, choosing one can get confusing quickly.

VGA

VGA stands for Video Graphics Array, and is one of the oldest video cables still on the market. It was developed by IBM, with the cable being released in 1987. VGA cables send data through an analog signal, which has since been made obsolete by digital signals. Supporting resolutions of up to 640 x 480 and 16 colors, this type of cable is made out of 15 pins, through three rows of five pins. These cables can also be distinguished by their blue color. As mentioned, these cables have grown obsolete, replaced by the newer video cables, such as DVI and HDMI.

DVI

DVI stands for Digital Visual Interface, a cable created by the Digital Display Working Group in 1999. This cable has a few different modes: DVI-I, DVI-D, and DVI-A.

  1. DVI-I: Combines both digital and analog, with the “I” standing for “Integrated”
  2. DVI-D: Only supports digital signals
  3. DVI-A: Only supports analog signals

Both DVI-I and DVI-D can come in either single-link or dual-link. Single-link cables support a resolution of up to 1920 x 1200 at 60Hz, with the dual-link cable supporting up to 2560 x 1600, again at 60Hz. DVI cables are still fairly common today, used to connect some older computers and monitors, or if you’re connecting multiple monitors and only have a limited amount of ports.

HDMI

HDMI cables are one of the most common today. The acronym stands for High Definition Media Input, and was created by a group of manufacturers, including Sanyo, Toshiba, and Sony. Unlike the previous two cables, HDMI can transfer both video and audio. On the audio side, HDMI 1.4 cables are capable of transmitting 24-bit uncompressed audio at a frequency of 192 kHz. In terms of video transmissions, HDMI 1.4 supports resolutions up to 4096 x 2160 (commonly referred to as “4K”). The newer, HDMI 2.0 hardware can support a bandwidth of up to 18Gb per second.

There are three main types of HDMI cables to know about:

  1. Type A: These are the normal, full-sized cables that are commonly referenced
  2. Type C: These are also known as Mini-HDMI cables, which are smaller and commonly used for laptops and tablets
  3. Type D: This is also referred to as Micro-HDMI, which are usually for mobile devices

HDMI was originally meant for home entertainment, but have found use in the world of computers as well. With how highspeed HDMI cables are, they have grown in popularity and are pretty universal today. They are extremely useful for any situation, even at a distance (as you can buy up to 100 ft HDMI cables).

DisplayPort

The DisplayPort cable was originally developed by the Video Electronics Standards Association. Similar to HDMI, DisplayPort cables can carry both video and audio. With DisplayPort 1.4, this cable can transmit resolutions of up to 7680 x 4320 (also known as 8k), surpassing the capability of HDMI 1.4. Unlike HDMI cables, DisplayPort was designed specifically with computers in mind, with the main purpose being for consumers to use higher resolution monitors. As DisplayPort ports aren’t the most common on the market (at least compared to HDMI), it is easy to find adapters and HDMI to DisplayPort cables, so you can have both types in one cable.

Choosing One

Video cables are essential to our lives, from home use to business. Choosing the right video cable for the job can greatly affect what you see through your monitor. For normal day-to-day use, DVI and HDMI cables will get the job done, but if you have a high-resolution monitor, you may want to think about picking up a DisplayPort cable. And for that, you’ve come to the right place.

What is Quick Charge Technology?Quick Charge technology allows for more power to be delivered from a charger to a device via a USB cable. This means the battery of the device will charge faster than standard USB rates allow. It optimizes the power and charge capabilities of the charger and cable while still protecting against overcharging and overheating.

Quick Charge, by chipmaker Qualcomm Technologies Inc, is one of the most widely implemented charging standards on the market. There are other fast charging technologies used in mobile device charging today such as: Huawei’s SuperCharge, Motorola’s TurboPower, and Apple’s fast charging via USB-PD. Apple’s technology manages power delivery over USB.

Although the Quick Charge technology was created by Qualcomm and rolled out in their Snapdragon SoC (System on a chip), the technology is not tied exclusively to Qualcomm’s processors. Any smartphone manufacturer is free to license the power controller technology.

The most recent version of Quick Charge to hit the market in mobile devices is QC4+. Its previous iterations were QC4, QC 3.0, QC 2.0, and QC 1.0.

Quick Charge allows you to dump a lot of power into your battery using higher than normal voltage until it reaches what is called “saturation.” Saturation happens at around 60 – 80% charge depending on how the device’s power management is configured. At that point, the device’s power controller scales back the amount of power it receives and will charge more slowly as it approaches 100% charge.

When viewing the following charts detailing USB PD charging standards followed by Qualcomm’s Quick Charge standards, remember that Voltage x Amperage = Wattage.

USB Power Delivery* (PD)
ver. Volts Amps Watts
PD 1.0 5V 0.5A 2.5W
PD 2.0 5V 0.5A/0.9A 4.5W
PD 3.0 5-20V 0.5A/0.9A/1.5A/3A/5A 100W

* USB Power Delivery versions are different than USB versions, USB 1 & 2 use PD 1, USB 3 uses PD 2, and USB 3.1 & 3.2 use PD 3.

 

Qualcomm Quick Charge (QC)
Volts Amps Watts
QC 1.0 5V 2A 10W
QC 2.0 5V/9V/12V 1.67A/2A 18W
QC 3.0 3.6V-20V 2.5A/4.6A 18W
QC4+ 5V/9V, 3.6V-20V 3A, 2.5A/4.6A 27W

What devices support Quick Charge?

Quick Charge is a feature for Android devices and accessories. Sorry Apple product lovers, this blog may not be for you. Apple products do not use Qualcomm’s Quick Charge technology. But just so we can keep a good 50% of the team happy, let me quickly mention some specs for Apple “fast charging.” Apple products from the iPhone 8 or later have a “fast charging” capability when using a USB-C to Lightning cable with a USB-C power adapter that is rated for 18W, 29W, 30W, 61W, or 87W.

A current list of devices that support Qualcomm Quick charge.

What do you need to use the Quick Charge functionality of your device?

In order to take advantage of Qualcomm’s Quick Charge technology, two things must support the technology. Your device and the charger both have to support Quick Charge.

What are the results you can expect from using Quick Charge technology?

The latest version of Qualcomm’s Quick Charge is version 4+. This latest version can recharge a device to 50% in just 15 minutes. The more widespread version of QC 3.0 can recharge a battery to 50% in half an hour.

** Based on internal tests charging a 2750mAh fast charge battery and using the maximum power for a thermal limit of 40C for all charging implementations. Charge time based on 0% to 50% utilizing 2017 charging Implementations (September 2016). Snapdragon 835 is designed to allow devices to support 5 hours of battery life with 5 minutes charging. Actual results may vary depending on device design.

Understanding the Ins and Outs of Fiber Optic Cables

fiber optic cables

There is a lot of misleading, inaccurate information in the world of fiber optic cables. For such an integral part of any operation’s technology setup, it’s a shame that many core points about fiber optic cables are misrepresented or overlooked. With our simple tips, you can take yourself one step closer to understanding the current technological landscape so that you make the best choices for you and your company.

In the simplest terms, fiber optic cables provide the foundation of your network, whatever the application may be. They transfer data and maintain network connections. They are made of copper and metal and coated with protective plastic that ensures your setup is able to resist elements like harmful UV rays and extreme hot or cold temperatures. Fiber optic cables also provide communication between telephone systems and transfer data over the internet. Although they are often overlooked, fiber optic cables are a crucial part of any productive work environment in today’s world.

There are a few basic considerations when it comes to the types of fiber optic cables that are available to you as a consumer. A zip cord fiber optic cable is often a great choice for a wide range of applications. This cable joins two or more connectors with a plastic jacket. The main advantage to such a design is that signals can be kept separate and you can avoid ending up with a tangled mess of ugly cables that make your workspace more cluttered than it needs to be.

Surge protectors are an equally important component of complex technology setups, whether in offices, small businesses, or home studio setups. Electrical safety should not be neglected, regardless of the size and scale of your endeavor. According to data from the Electrical Safety Foundation International, 82% of surveyed professionals reported that surge protection is a necessary part of protecting expensive equipment. Putting systems in place to ensure that your devices are protected is a simple step you can take upfront that will often end up saving you valuable time and money further down the road.

As you can see, everything from your networking cable to your power protection should be considered as you optimize your setup. If you’re looking for a reliable company to help you as you sort out your cables, then don’t hesitate to get in touch with us today.