USB Connectivity And the Problems It Poses For Embedded Developers

The Universal Serial Bus or USB standard has been widely adopted by designers of consumer and industrial devices because of various advantages (plug and play function, ease of use and robustness). One of the best things about this technology is that it supplies power to the connected device so there is not need for an external power supply. But this technology has made the work of embedded designers more difficult.

Embedded developers designing products for the Internet of Things are struggling on account of the USB standard. Many IoT devices are power sensitive and battery operated. Adding USB interfaces on such devices doubles the power consumption. At present, the only way to tackle this is to add bigger batteries. This, the embedded designer may not have anticipated when he designed the product.

PCs were the original host for USB ports and they are always connected to a power source. This suited USB technology well since a PC was never short of power. On the other hand, USB developers stopped developing the technology for small devices without abundant power sources. So, embedded developers have no option but to either increase the device cost (to enable installation of more efficient batteries) or double the battery size.