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Guide to USB Type-C

Summary: Learn about USB Type-C and its features and find information about frequently asked questions on USB Type-C

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What is USB Type-C?

USB Type-C is a new connector type. One cable type is all you will need for power, video, and data transfers across multiple devices, so long as the devices themselves support USB Type-C and various functionality that USB Type-C has to offer. It offers data transfer rate at incredible speeds, charge other devices, power mobile devices and even support video transmission, all with just one cable. USB Type-C connector is already supported by many device manufacturers.

Note: Refer to the documentation of your device to know more about specific features that are supported over USB Type-C on your device.

Faster Data Transfer Speeds

USB Type-C can transfer data at up to 10Gbps^ speed with improved cables and connectors.

Note: ^Data transfer speed may vary between different devices.

USB Power Delivery

USB Type-C cable supports up to 130W* of power transmission along the same cable for compatible devices compared to 2.5W on its predecessors USB 2.0 or USB 3.0. This helps power devices like cellphones, tablets and also charge compatible laptops or ultra-books.

Note: Some devices may have higher power capacity. Dell Dock supports upto 130W of power transmission over USB Type-C to supported Dell Notebook computers.

Alternate Mode

USB Type-C utilizes a 24-pin double-sided connector allowing for device manufacturers to enable Alternate Mode which unlocks the ability to use alternate data protocols for direct device-to-host transmission. This allows you to output VGA, HDMI, DisplayPort, Thunderbolt, Ethernet or other types of connections from a single USB Type-C port with the help of compatible adapters.

Reversible Connector

The USB Type-C is a new user-friendly reversible connector which allows you to connect the cable to your device in any direction, unlike its predecessors.

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Key Features of USB Type-C

  • Robust connector strong enough for laptops, tablets and larger platforms.
  • Reversible plug orientation and cable direction.
  • Supports scalable power and performance to help future-proof your solution.
  • Slim form factor that can be utilized on notebooks, ultrabooks and mobile devices.
  • USB Type-C is not USB 3.1 - The USB Type-C is a connector and cable specification which can utilize USB 2.0, USB 3.0 or USB 3.1 protocols for data or power delivery.
  • USB Type-C is not USB Power Delivery - USB Power Delivery is a protocol/hardware solution that increases USB power capabilities up to 130W on supported platforms. If a product features USB Type-C, it need not necessarily support USB Power Delivery or USB 3.1

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Comparison of different USB Connectors

Here is a comparison of different USB Connectors.

USB Type Image
USB Type-A SLN296825_en_US__1I_USBC_USB Type-A_TM_V1
USB Type-B SLN296825_en_US__2I_USBC_USB Type-B_TM_V1
Mini USB SLN296825_en_US__3I_USBC_Mini USB_TM_V1
Micro USB SLN296825_en_US__4I_USBC_Micro USB_TM_V1
USB Type-A 3.0 SLN296825_en_US__5I_USBC_USB 3_Type-A_TM_V1
USB Type-C SLN296825_en_US__6I_USBC_USBType-C_TM_V1

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USB Type-C Adapters/Converters

USB Type-C Adapters are the range of adapters that expand the connectivity from a single USB Type-C port to various display devices, Gigabit Ethernet, and USB-A 3.0

USB Type-C ports can support a variety of different protocols using "alternate modes", which allows you to have adapters that can output HDMI, VGA, DisplayPort, or other types of connections from that single USB port. Dell’s USB Type-C to HDMI, USB Type-C to DisplayPort, USB Type-C to VGA adapters will allow you to streamline VGA, DisplayPort, HDMI into a single type of port.

Key features of the USB Type-C Adapters are:

  • USB Type-C to VGA and USB Type-C to HDMI adapters enable notebooks/tablets with USB Type-C to connect with various displays/projectors/TVs via VGA, HDMI.
  • USB Type-C to Gigabit Ethernet adapters enable notebooks/tablets with USB Type-C to connect to the network via the RJ45 port.
  • USB Type-C to USB-A 3.0 adapters enable notebooks/tablets with USB Type-C to connect to the legacy peripherals (for example, a mouse or a printer).
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Frequently Asked Questions

Here are some frequently asked questions about USB Type-C.

  1. Will USB Type-C be backwards compatible?
    USB Type-C connector itself is not backwards compatible with previous USB Types and may require appropriate adapters for connecting the devices together. Some older non self-powered devices may not be compatible due to power requirements. Data transfer speeds will be limited to the older device.
  2. What is the difference between USB Type-A and USB Type-C?
    USB Type-A is the current connector type which is primarily used on most USB devices. USB Type-C is the new connector type. Due to the difference in connector shape, they are not compatible with each other. You will need an appropriate adapter/converter for this.
    USB Type-C has a reversible connector and is capable of Data, Video and Power transmission along the same cable. Refer to What is USB Type-C section? for more information.
  3. What type of devices will use USB Type-C?
    All standard devices like Tablets, Mobile devices and accessories, Audio/Video adapters, External Hard Disk Drives, Monitors, etc.
  4. How fast is USB Type-C compared to previous versions of USB, Serial-ATA or Thunderbolt?
    USB Type-C is a new type of connector. Depending on the device type and the protocols implemented, faster data transfer can be achieved.
    Note: Data transfer speed may vary between different devices depending on the protocols that are implemented.
  5. What are some key features and benefits of USB Type-C?
    Reversible connector and the ability to use a single cable for data transfer, deliver video to a display and power delivery are the key features of USB Type-C.
  6. Will I need to purchase all new cables?
    USB Type-C is backwards compatible with USB 2.0 and USB 3.0 protocols. However, due to the difference in the design of the USB Type-C plug/port, you may have to purchase compatible adapters which allows you to plug your legacy devices into a USB Type-C port.
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Article Properties

Affected Product

Dell Dock WD15, Dell Thunderbolt Dock TB15, Dell Thunderbolt Dock TB16, Dell Precision Dual USB-C Thunderbolt Dock - TB18DC, Dell Universal Dock D6000

Last Published Date

21 Feb 2021



Article Type