It may seem pointless, but there's a big chance that kids on a school computers connect a laptop to a desktop usb ports with one of the USB male to male cables around. To clarify the meaning of Upstream VS Downstream I just did this summary after I clarified it to myself: In telecommunications generally, a transmission from an information server toward an end user is referred to as downstream and a transmission toward the server is referred to as upstream. My summary: In USB terminology: Upstream port: Receives power, for example the Micro-USB port on a smartphone is an upstream port. Downstream port: Gives power, for example, the USB on an Apple keyboard is a downstream port. A computer has a number of downstream ports. On USB hubs, the port that connects to the computer is an upstream port, while the ports that connect to devices are downstream ports.