Difference Between USB 1.0 and USB 2.0 (with Table)

The reason for the speed upgrade from USB 1.0 to 2.0 was that USB 2.0 was specifically made for faster devices that needed rapid data transmission. Thus, the speed of data transmission remains a seminal difference between the first USB device and its improved successor- USB 2.0. The data transmission speed of the initial USB interface was exceptionally low. This aspect of the product underwent considerable improvement with the launch of its successor – USB 2.0.

USB 1.0 vs USB 2.0

The difference between USB 1.0 and USB 2.0 interfaces is that The maximum speed theoretically achievable for a USB 1.0 device is 12 Mbps. USB 2.0 device can theoretically operate at a maximum speed of 480 Mbps. This denotes a significant improvement over its predecessor’s operation capacity as the speed of a USB 2.0 interface is almost amplified up to 40 times over the existing standard.

Comparison Table Between USB 1.0 and USB 2.0

Parameters of ComparisonUSB 1.0USB 2.0
Year of Release1996, upgraded 19982000
SpeedUSB 1.0 operates at the lower speed limit of 1.5 Mbps, while the upgraded version of the interface (1.1) boasts a speed of 12 Mbps.The improved speed of this version allows it to operate as a high-speed USB. 480 Mbps is the maximum speed of data transmission supported by USB 2.0.
Cable Length3 meters5 meters
Power5V, 1.5 A5V, 1.8 A
Typical UsageCommonly used with peripheral devices like keyboards, mouse, etc.Commonly used with higher bandwidth devices like mass storage devices, adapters, etc.
ModesLow and full speedHigh speed

What is USB 1.0?

Launched in January 1996, USB 1.0 was created primarily for data transmission from peripheral devices. It was developed as an interfacing device for connecting keyboards, cameras, mouse, etc.   At 12 Mb per second rate, this first-of-its-kind device was incapable of helming speedy data transmissions.

Moreover, this was the upper limit of the speed range for the device. The lower speed limit of USB 1.0 was only 1.5 Mbps. The need for slower transmission functions of peripheral devices was adequately met by the USB 1.0 version, however, it remained insufficient to fulfill the growing needs for streamlined and efficient transmission.

The USB 1.1 version was soon rolled out in 1998 as a marginal improvement on the original version. The initial version supported up to a total of 127 devices.

What is USB 2.0?

April 2000 witnessed the launch of the new and improved USB 2.0. The initiative to develop a version that supports improved transmission speeds was taken jointly by Hewlett-Packard, Philips, NEC, Microsoft, Lucent and Intel. USB 2.0 was the result of this endeavor.

This version was a marked improvement on the initial design. The enhanced maximum operation speed of the product was 480 Mbps. This was almost 40 times greater than the data transmission speed supported by its predecessor.

The development of this version was prompted by the need for a faster data transmission interface as input traffic grew exponentially. This new and improved version is also commonly referred to as the Hi-speed USB. USB 2.0 like its predecessor supports one-way communication. Both type A and B USB connectors are compatible with USB 2.0.

Main Differences Between USB 1.0 and USB 2.0

  1. The main difference between USB 1.0 and USB 2.0 is in terms of their speed of data transmission. The former operates at a maximum theoretical speed of 12 Mbps. The lower limit of its speed range is 1.5 Mbps. USB 2.0 on the other hand, operates at an enhanced speed of 480 Mbps. This is also the maximum theoretical speed of USB 2.0. The usual speed noted is 280 Mbps, which is also a significant improvement from the speed of its predecessor.
  2. The second difference between USB 1.0 and USB 2.0 can be noted in terms of power. The operational power of the former version is 5V, 1.5 A, while the improved USB 2.0 boasts an operational power of 5V, 1.8 A.
  3. The next difference can be assessed in terms of the wire length of each version. USB 1.0 has a wire length of 3 meters or 9’10”. USB 2.0 has a longer wire that measures 5 meters or 16’5’.
  4. The former version is commonly used with devices that require lower data transmission rates. Peripheral devices -like keyboards, mouse, and printer- whose functionality will not be affected by a lower bandwidth of the USB 1.0 are best suited for being used with it. On the other hand, USB 2.0 was created for faster transmission of data as a result it is used by higher bandwidth devices like mass storage devices, transfer cables, adapters, etc.
  5. The initial version recognized only the low and full speed specifications in devices. The improved USB 2.0 adds another high-speed tier to this system. Upon initiation in a USB 1.0 port, USB 2.0 identifies itself as a full speed device, then it negotiates to be accepted as a high-speed variant. This makes the 480 Mbps data speed possible.


The Universal Service Bus versions 1.0 and 2.0 have several as well as markedly conspicuous differences. Both these versions are uni-coded and can be used for unidirectional data transmission.  However, their differences become pronounced when the two are assessed in terms of their speeds of data transmission.

The lower end of the speed spectrum for data transmission through USB 1.0 is 1.5 Mbps. The theoretical higher-end is 12 Mbps. USB 2.0 is a significantly improved version that hosts a maximum speed of 480 Mbps.

The two versions also differ in terms of their cable lengths and operational power capacities. Given their speed spectrums, they are each suited for very different input and output devices. Both these versions continue to be used today, however, much more advanced and sophisticated models –like USB 3.0- have come to replace most of their functionality.


  1. https://ieeexplore.ieee.org/abstract/document/7906972/
  2. https://www.ti.com/lit/an/slyt118/slyt118.pdf
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