A plus study guide 1101 1.3

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A+ Exam Objective 1.3 – Given a scenario, set up and configure accessories and ports of mobile devices.

Welcome to ExamNotes by CertBlaster! This installment looks at the ports and accessories available on mobile devices. We’ll look at the connection types and the physical connection that may be used. Enjoy!

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Connection types

When discussing physical connections to mobile devices the USB connection type is the most versatile and expandable option available. The connection is capable of providing power to and sharing data with up to 256 simultaneous connections. 1.3    The evolution of the USB specification is detailed in Domain 3.0. However, in this section, we will concentrate on descriptive terminology.


MicroUSB and miniUSB are two connection types that became standard and then eventually were phased out in favor of another. The miniUSB connector was introduced as a digital camera and media player charger and data connector. MiniUSB was only marginally smaller than the standard USB B connection and it wasn’t long before a replacement, the microUSB, was designed and adopted. The microUSB connection is more durable and mobile device friendly than the miniUSB. The microUSB is also considerably smaller and is suitable for not only fit media-based devices but also the sleek, thin smartphones and Tablet PCs that were flooding the market.

The mass adoption of microUSB spelled doom for the miniUSB connector. You may see the miniUSB in the field but all new devices are considerably more likely to be microUSB as devices developed a slimmer profile. Most recently, the USB-C connector was developed with a higher speed, a small profile, and a reversible orientation. With USB-C, you can plug it in either way and there’s no more guessing when you connected a device.

USB-C Connector


Apple was one of the initial developers of USB-C along with other major industry leaders. Seeing how slowly the standard was being developed, Apple left the group and developed its own similar but proprietary connector called Lightning. This connector was in production before USB-C (USB 3.1) was approved. The connector is compatible with many other standards, but you’ll need to obtain adapters to use it.


Earlier Bluetooth wireless connections were not as fast as it is currently (initially 2MBs). The maximum range and speed have increased fairly steadily as shown in the table. Special protocol features allow users to create Personal Area Networks (PAN).

Characteristics of different Bluetooth versions

Infrared Transmissions – IR

Infrared transmissions use the invisible light spectrum to transmit low-power signals to compatible devices. There are many applications that utilize the technology, most notably remote control signaling for home theatre devices, garage door openers, and any dedicated device that has an unobstructed line of sight. Some smartphones incorporate this technology allowing users control of their multimedia components.


During tethering, a smartphone is connected to a laptop or tablet using a compatible USB cable, allowing the cellular device’s connection to be shared wirelessly with other devices. During this process, the Internet connection is used to create a mobile hotspot, through which the other devices can access resources on the internet.


Practically speaking, any network-capable and many device-specific accessories can be connected, used, or shared. Here is the shortlist.

Webcam & Microphone

When it comes to webcam and microphone placement, the laptop lid is the ideal location. This makes videoconferencing or chatting much more natural.


A digitizer is a device or even an overlay on your LCD panel, that takes physical input, such as finger or stylus movement, and converts it digitally on your display. For example, this device makes it possible to draw directly into a graphics program. This is a great accessory for a graphic artist and provides him/her the opportunity to create and digitally modify their creations. The digitizer can be considered a touchscreen.


The diminutive size of most smartphones and even laptops makes sound reproduction a challenge. A good headset can be connected using the 1/8” headphone jack, USB, or Bluetooth. Any of these connection types will provide high-quality audio.

Speakers/Docking Station

The device size and speaker quality will have the greatest impact on the sound quality again. If you plan on using your mobile device to listen to music or watch movies, the built-in speakers in most mobile devices will not provide the most enjoyable experience.

Tablet dock

For the most enjoyable experience, connect your device to a docking station containing stereo speakers and possibly a sub-woofer. There are many brand-specific docks built exactly for your device.

Port replicator

Of the devices and accessories provided to you, a port replicator extends your USB connection capabilities. Since up to 256 devices are supported, it won’t be long until you need to add additional ports. A port replicator typically supports 4 devices, but it is possible to use one of your replicated ports to add another replicator.

Trackpad/drawing pad

You will certainly be familiar with the trackpad on a laptop that is used to move the cursor and capture clicks. An external device can be added in cases where a signature is required, or for the input of non-keyboard-related information like sketching or drawing.

That’s all for domain 1.3. So far, so good! See you in 1.4!

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