This section provides an overview for usb analyzers as well as their applications and principles. Also, please take a look at the list of 9 usb analyzer manufacturers and their company rankings.
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A USB analyzer is a device inserted between a host and peripheral devices communicating on the USB bus and used to analyze the bus according to the USB protocol by capturing data packets flowing on the bus.
Before the USB bus was standardized, the interface between a PC and peripheral devices was very complicated and costly because each device had to be prepared separately, such as a keyboard, mouse, and printer. This was not only complicated but also costly, because it was necessary to prepare the circuits and driver software to drive the bus according to each interface standard.
With the release of the USB bus protocol, peripheral devices now only need to support the USB bus protocol as an interface.
To analyze the USB bus protocol, it is usually possible to place the bus monitoring software on a PC, which can be done relatively inexpensively. However, these software programs can only analyze the data communication between the PC and the device driver.
They cannot analyze what kind of buckets of data are actually being exchanged on the USB bus. In such cases, the USB analyzer is very effective.
USB is used in PCs, tablets, smartphones, cell phones, digital cameras, printers, PC peripherals, and recently, even in cars. Some devices have several USB ports.
The USB ports on each device are available in several shapes, depending on the size of the device and its limitations.
Type-A connectors are rectangular in shape when viewed from the outside. This type is a standard connector and is usually used for PCs.
Type-B is used for relatively large devices such as printers. MicroUSB is used for smartphones, etc., and MiniUSB is used for digital cameras, etc.
Furthermore, Type-C is compatible with the USB3.1 standard, which supports high-speed transfers and can be used without concern for the direction in which it is plugged in. Recently, as notebook PCs and smartphones have become smaller, this type of connector has also become lighter and smaller.
The USB analyzers are devices used to analyze the data communication on the USB bus in devices with USB terminals such as those described above.
On the USB bus, up to five repeaters (hubs) can be subordinately connected to one host, and up to 127 peripheral devices can be connected.
The USB analyzers analyzes the bus according to the protocol defined for the USB bus. Therefore, understanding its principle is equivalent to understanding the USB protocol.
In USB, communication between the host and peripheral devices is performed using packets, the smallest unit of which is a chunk of bit strings.
The communication of a data string consisting of multiple packets is called a transaction. This is the basis of data communication, and there are four transfer modes of communication over this physical communication: control transfer, interrupt transfer, bulk transfer, and isochronous transfer.
In the above communication mode, consider, for example, the case where a mouse is connected as a USB peripheral device. Generally, when a mouse is connected to a PC as a new device, it does not require a device driver to be installed.
This is because the USB peripheral device informs the host of its identity immediately after it is connected to the PC and communication is initiated. Based on the information from the peripheral device, the host retrieves and configures the standard device driver it holds internally.
This eliminates the need to install a device driver each time a new USB peripheral device is connected.
Control transfer involves the transfer of data. It consists of three stages: setup stage, data stage, and status stage.
The USB protocol has dramatically increased the communication speeds it supports with each successive generation. The main versions and their overview, including other evolutions, are listed below.
The first generation, USB 1.0, was released in January 1996 and supported speeds up to 12 Mbps.
USB 1.1 was released in September 1998, and although the transfer speed remained the same at up to 12 Mbps, it proposed improvements over USB 1.0, such as power management, etc. This was also the year Windows 98 was released, and USB became widely known.
In April 2000, USB 2.0 was released, supporting Hi-Speed mode and increasing the maximum speed to 480 Mbps.
USB 3.0, announced in November 2008, increased the maximum transfer rate to 4 Gbps while maintaining backward compatibility with earlier versions.
Since then, USB 3.2 was released in July 2017, and USB 4.0 is currently being standardized.
USB analyzers come in a wide variety of sizes and functions. In addition to the common stationary type that is always connected to a PC, the following two types are typical types.
As with other devices, USB analyzers software can be paid software, free software, or bundled software that comes with the product. The following is a list of typical software.
*Including some distributors, etc.
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