USB OTG AND USB HUBS

USB OTG and USB Hubs are technologies that help to provide more functionality to your existing USB port.
A USB cable has two ends, one of which usually contains a USB A connector. Unlike laptops and PCs, smartphones do not have ports that are capable of accepting a USB A connector. On top of that, smartphones have only one port unlike the aforementioned devices that boasts at least two or three USB A ports. This is where USB OTG and USB hubs come in.


USB OTG (On-The-Go)

USB OTG is a USB specification introduced in 2001 that allows smartphones and tablets to act as a host so that peripherals (with USB A cables) like keyboards can be attached to them. Before the invention of USB OTG, PCs and laptops used to be the only USB enabled devices that could act as hosts. USB OTG changed all that. Now smartphones can perform nearly all of the USB host functions of PC and more are being added every year with each new update.

Micro-USB (up) and a USB type C OTG cable

 

With regular USB connections, one device is permanently designated as a host (master) while the others are designated as peripheral devices (slave). These roles are usually permanent. In a USB OTG connection however, one device can now play both roles. This means that your smartphone acts as a host (master) to a keyboard but behaves as a peripheral (slave) to a PC/laptop. Two phones connected to each other via OTG can also swap roles as well.
USB OTG defines 2 roles for the connected devices: OTG A device acts as a host and supplies power while OTG device B acts as a peripheral (slave) and consumes power to run.


FUNCTIONS OF USB OTG

  • USB OTG now allows you to access data from your hard disk drive (HDD) or Flash drive for example without needing a laptop. All you need is your phone and an OTG cable.
  • It allows a user to simply turn their smartphone into a mini PC by attaching a keyboard, mouse and even a printer to your smartphone.
  • Typing with a smartphone is now easier for those who love keyboards and cannot carry their laptops with them all the time.
  • Mice can be used to operate a smartphone’s touchscreen if it is broken. It can also come in handy for impressing your friends.
  • The days of needing a laptop to print documents are over. Pick up a printer cable and attach it to your USB, it’s that simple. Although you may need a third party app for older Inkjet or Deskjet printers. For that, I’ll recommend Printershare. You can get it off Playstore.
  • You can improve the gaming experience on your phone by simply connecting a game controller to it. Controllers like the Playstation 4 controllers as well Xbox one controllers are simply plug and play.
  • USB OTG helps a wired connection between two phones for either charging purposes or file transfer.


OTG SUPPORT

Only devices with USB 2.0 and above can support OTG.


USB HUBS

A USB hub is a device that expands a single USB port into several more ports. This is so that more peripherals can be attached to a single host. They can only work with an OTG cable.

USB hubs can either be built into a device or be bought separately. USB hubs can also either be self powered or unpowered. Unpowered USB hubs have to draw power from the host device in order to function.

If you are going to use a USB hub with your smartphone, it is advisable to use an unpowered (bus powered) hub to attach peripherals like keyboards and the like to your phone.

FUNCTION

  • Expansion. It expands the single port on your phone into several more ports.

SUPPORT

Only devices with USB 2.0 and above can support USB hubs.


This brings us to the end of this blog post, I hope you learnt something new. I’ll see you in my next blog post, till my next one take care.

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