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All you need to know about USB4, the next generation of USB



Photo: David Nield (Gizmodo)

It is then again – another USB standard is upon us, ready to upgrade the device's ports and cables in the coming years. Here we explain everything you need to know about USB4, including speed enhancements in the pipeline and the new capabilities it needs to borrow from Thunderbolt 3, which shares the same port form, but is another and more demanding protocol that can piggyback on USB -C ports.

If you're a little confused about where we're done, the latest standard is actually in use, USB 3.1, even if you don't find too many devices using the latest MacBook Pro models do). The USB 3.2 standard has been confirmed for its technical aspects, but it will not actually appear in consumer devices later this year.

So while waiting for USB 3.2 to come up, what better time to announce USB4? The USB Promoter Group has just pushed out the details of the new technology and also removed the space between the word and the version number. To dredge the water even more, the group now refers to USB 3.0 as USB 3.2 Gen 1 and to USB 3.1 as USB 3.2 Gen 2. It should not make it harder!

The latest USB 3.2 is technical USB 3.2 Gen 2×2-that "2×2" refers to the ability to use two high-speed channels on the same cable, with a maximum throughput of 20Gbps. USB 3.1 (USB 3.2 Gen 2) tops at 10Gbps, while USB 3.0 (USB 3.2 Gen 1) tops out at 5Gbps. Our friends at Lifehacker about more about renaming kerfuffle here.

Photo: Sam Rutherford (Gizmodo)

Also note that the actual port shape and standard is separate from the underlying USB protocol, although they are often developed in tandem (USB 3.2 Gen 2×2 needs a USB-C plug, for example). In other words, not all USB-C connectors have the same USB technology within them – manufacturers can choose different speeds they want and the costs they want to pay.

To support a particular USB standard, you need a device (a calculation r or a phone, say), a USB connector, and a cable that all support it, or speeds will fall back to a slower level .

What does that mean with the whole thing and the confusing preamble? USB4 brings us? The headline is that the bandwidth is doubled again, so we talk a maximum of 40 Gbps throughput. If you are not familiar with the conditions, the bandwidth is the number of lanes on a motorway – its potential capacity – while flow is how many cars can actually travel (or actually travel) at one time.

Throughput (actual speeds) will always be equal to or less than bandwidth (theoretical rates) depending on all possible factors, including the units you use. If you use USB4 ports, cables, and devices, you can turn the maximum 40 Gbps throughput that the bandwidth allows.

Photo: Alex Cranz (Gizmodo)

In addition to that, Intel throws in its Thunderbolt 3 standard as part of the USB4 protocol, which means the ability to connect thousands-chain 4K monitors and other devices without the help of a hub something USB hasn't done before.

That means essentially Thunderbolt 3 will be built right into USB4, leading to more versatility in data transfer rates when using multiple devices together. While Apple Macs have combined Thunderbolt 3 and USB to some extent, technology is still relatively rare on PCs and other devices.

In the official press release words, USB4 defines a method of sharing a single high-speed link with multiple end-device types dynamically, which best serve data transfer by type and application "- think more external monitors and other devices like hard disks connected over a cable or a chain of cables rather than a hub.

The good news is that everything will be backward compatible with USB 2, USB 3 and Thunderbolt 3. Your existing devices can still talk to USB4 hardware, they just need to Do it at a slower rate.

Photo: Sam Rutherford (Gizmodo)

Daisy-chained devices, twice as high as bandwidth, more versatility, Thunderbolt 3 integration … USB4 seems to be earning the leap from 3 , 2 in the official nomenclature (although we are still not sure about the lack of space).

So when can you get the hands of this magical new transfer standard? USB4 spec is expected to be formal Completed and published in mid-2019 (when USB 3.2 devices must begin to trickle out). At the same time, the USB-C standard must also see an update that fits USB4. Depending on the manufacturers and the kind of market demand, USB4 hardware should start to be close to the end of 2020.

The USB promoter group consists of representatives from Apple, HP, Intel, Microsoft, Renesas Electronics, ST Microelectronics, and Texas Instruments, so there will be some big names behind the future roll out. The group is supported by the non-profit organization USB Implementers Forum (USB-IF), which handles certification and so on.

Still being confirmed, the official marketing name you might see on the packaging is at the moment We have SuperSpeed ​​USB (USB 3.0 or USB 3.2 Gen 1), SuperSpeed ​​10Gbps (USB 3.1 or USB 3.2 Gen 2) and SuperSpeed ​​20Gbps (USB 3.2 Gen 2×2). Do not hold your breath for naming conventions to become simpler anytime soon – maybe the USB-IF will keep up with the Wi-Fi Alliance.


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