Speedy USB4 Specification Confirmed

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USB cable Type A Typeb B © JIANG HONGYAN Shutterstock

Specs for next generation USB connections will deliver greater speeds and Thunderbolt compatibility

The group behind the USB connector technology have formally agreed a new specification for next generation devices.

The new spec, known as as USB4, has been published by the USB Implementers Forum (USB-IF), and one of the most noteworthy points is that it is based on Intel’s Thunderbolt 3 connector tech.

It should be remembered that the USB 3.0 spec arrived back in 2012 offering transfer speeds of up to 10GB/s. USB 3.2 however offered data transfer speeds of up to 20GB/s.

USB 3.0 © pixelnest Shutterstock 2012

USB4 Specs

But now according to USB-F, USB4 promises a speed boost to 40Gbps, which is useful for example when dealing with multiple external displays or transferring lots of files from external hard drives.

The group behind the new spec describe it as a ‘major update’ that builds upon the existing USB 3.2 and USB 2.0 architectures.

“The USB4 architecture is based on the Thunderbolt protocol specification recently contributed by Intel Corporation to the USB Promoter Group,” said the group. “It doubles the maximum aggregate bandwidth of USB and enables multiple simultaneous data and display protocols.”

There are a number of other developments in the USB4 spec, which includes two-lane operation using existing USB Type-C cables and up to 40Gbps operation over 40Gbps certified cables.

It is also backward compatibility with USB 3.2, USB 2.0 and Thunderbolt .

“As the USB Type-C connector has evolved into the role as the external display port of many host products, the USB4 specification provides the host the ability to optimally scale allocations for display data flow,” said the group.

“Even as the USB4 specification introduces a new underlying protocol, compatibility with existing USB 3.2, USB 2.0 and Thunderbolt 3 hosts and devices is supported; the resulting connection scales to the best mutual capability of the devices being connected,” it concluded.

Users can theoretically start seeing new PCs sporting the USB4 spec in the market from early 2020.

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Author: Tom Jowitt
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