USB 4 Is Coming: What It Means For You

USB 4 Is Coming: What It Means For You


KitGuru Says: Thunderbolt hasn't caught on in the same way that USB has. The biggest point was that it would adopt a protocol that would bring backwards compatibility for USB 2.0, USB 3.2 and Thunderbolt 3. Intel plans to integrate support for Thunderbolt 3 and USB4 natively into upcoming products.

The standard will also allow third-party companies to use Thunderbolt 3 without paying a fee.

First, let us bask in the big news of the day: The USB-IF announced USB4, with no space between the "B" and the "4", cutting against all other USB naming schemes. It also means that USB4 is based on the underlying Thunderbolt 3 protocol. But probably you won't pay much attention to these names, because today, USB-IF officially announced the USB 4. So this year, we'll be getting USB 3.2 2×2 Type-C cables with 20Gbps speeds and dual-lane bandwidth, in a year or two, we'll start to see USB4 roll out with Type-C and 40Gbps speeds. From mobile devices to laptops and desktop PCs, billions of devices have shipped that support the interface since its inception in 1995.

The USB Promoter Group, which is comprised of joint-company efforts from business such as Apple, HP, Intel, Microsoft, TI, and Renesas Electronics corporation, just announced the release of USB4 specifications that are meant to compliment USB 3.2 and USB 2.0 architectures while also extending performance of slowly adopted USB Type-C connections. That means 40Gbps data transfers for external storage drives, eight times the speed of the USB 3.0 interface.

Will USB 3.2 Gen2x2 be dead on arrival? The USB firmware on the devices you are connecting will be able to split the data you are transferring into two individual streams on the device sending it and put it all back together into a stream of data that the device receiving it can read correctly. Presently, manufacturers have often been loading up their devices with both USB Type-A and USB Type-C ports to accommodate both legacy devices and more powerful ones.

"The USB4 solution specifically tailors bus operation to further enhance this [by] enabling the further doubling of performance". The release pegs the specification "to be published around the middle of 2019".

USB Developer Days 2019, in the second half of this year, will include detailed technical training covering the USB4 specification and the latest for USB Type-C, USB Power Delivery, and other exciting topics.

Ultimately, relinquishing control over Thunderbolt 3 is indeed a "significant milestone for making today's simplest and most versatile port available to everyone", as Intel General Manager for Client Connectivity Jason Ziller said in a statement. 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.

  • Terrell Bush