A new USB particular that will offer quicker speed and is intended to simplify things is yet being pounded by the USB Promoter Group, the standards body that regulates all things USB. It’s called “USB4” (no space), and there should be an official spec generally soon. What about genuine retail items, though?
Our friends at Anandtech asked the USB Promoter Group (USB-IF) that very inquiry at Computex. The reaction was that advancement on the draft spec is proceeding at a fast pace and that retail items supporting USB4 will be accessible before the end of next year.
There’s a bit to process there, and before we get to it, let’s have to take a look at where USB stands as of now. It’s turned into somewhat of a mistaking mess with the introduction of the USB 3.2 specification, which pairs the transmission capacity over USB 3.1 by allowing for up to two paths of 10Gbps operation, for 20Gbps total. Be that as it may, the spec likewise absorbs all earlier USB 3.x specifications, so it can really refer to 3 diverse transfer rates:
- USB 3.2 Gen 1: 5Gbps
- USB 3.2 Gen 2: 10Gbps
- USB 3.2 Gen 2×2: 20Gbps
As we have secured previously, it gets significantly messier when factoring in the SuperSpeed marketing terms.
“SuperSpeed Plus, Enhanced SuperSpeed, and SuperSpeed+ are characterized in the USB specifications, however, these terms are not planned to be used in item names, messaging, packaging or some other consumer-facing content,” USB-IF says.
USB-IF wants manufacturers to use the accompany marketing terms:
- USB 3.2 Gen 1: SuperSpeed USB
- USB 3.2 Gen 2: SuperSpeed USB 10Gbps
- USB 3.2 Gen 2×2: SuperSpeed 20Gbps
Overall, this is not the first time that USB names have changed. USB 3.2 Gen 1 used to be called USB 3.1 Gen 1, and preceding to that it was USB 3.0. Confused? It’s difficult not to be. Here’s a breakdown of over a significant time span USB specs, and the name changes that have pursued, where applicable:
- USB 1.1 —> still USB 1.1 (Full Speed)
- USB 2.0 —> still USB 2.0 (High Speed)
- USB 3.0 —> USB 3.1 Gen 1 —> USB 3.2 Gen 1 (SuperSpeed)
- USB 3.1 Gen 2 —> USB 3.2 Gen 2 (SuperSpeed 10Gbps)
- USB 3.2 Gen 2×2 (SuperSpeed 20Gbps)
One thing I haven’t discussed with any of the past USB specs is the type of connectivity, and explicitly the use of Type-A connectors (the ones on the greater part of your USB devices that you unavoidably attempt to plug in upside down on the first attempt) and Type-C (a smaller, reversible connector). And afterward there is Thunderbolt support—some USB-C gadgets have it, some don’t.
Presently that you’re likely thoroughly confuzzled, let’s circle back to USB4, which for few reasons are not called USB 4 (with space) or USB 4.0. Naming aside, USB4 will only use Type-C connectors. Besides, it incorporates Thunderbolt 3 into the spec, so that’s one less thing to have research, or guess. And as for speed, it will again twofold the data transfer capacity, from 20Gbps (10Gbps per lane) to 40Gbps (20Gbps per lane).
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Despite the fact that USB-IF thinks it will settle the USB4 spec this summer, with retail USB4 gadgets showing up next year, it will take some time—likely years—for USB4 to permeate the PC landscape in an important way. There are simply too many existing USB devices in the wild for USB4 to storm the castle overnight.
That said, USB4 is an appreciated evolution of USB and will be worth sitting tight for.