USB4 is based on Thunderbolt 3, doubles bandwidth to 40 Gbps


At the tail end of February, it seemed to go to great lengths to make USB 3.2 as confusing as humanly possible, and today, it announced the upcoming release of the USB4 specification. However, there is a bit of a sour note becuase that's exactly the same speed as Thunderbolt 3, meaning that there will be no enhancement for current Thunderbolt 3 devotees on a standard that will be several years old already.

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. Also taking a page from Thunderbolt 3's playbook is the ability to deliver 100W of power and enough bandwidth to support a single 5K display or two 4K displays. Also Thunderbolt 3 will now be available to more companies to use - without the fees formerly attached to the speedy technology - so companies have one fewer excuse for why it's not in their products.

USB 3.2 Gen 1, which most call USB 3.0, transferring data at up to 5Gb per second. You can send nearly anything over USB as long as it is a supported protocol.

When USB 3.0 was introduced back in 2009, it was an improvement in all regards compared to the-then dominating standard USB 2.0.

This will be fixed with USB 4.0, which will use one standard connector and bring the multiple connectivity standards together. Right now, there are only 463 certified Thunderbolt 3 devices on the market. In fact, Intel plans big things for Thunderbolt 3, such as integrating it into the chipset for its next-generation "Ice Lake" CPUs.

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USB 3.2 tops out at 20Gbps.

One of the key points of the new USB4 specification is "two-lane operation using existing USB Type-C cables and up to 40 Gbps operation over 40 Gbps certified cables".

Because Thunderbolt 3's technology is now open and royalty-free, the devices that would benefit from it will be less expensive and more likely to exist in the first place.

50 companies including Intel, which co-engineered Thunderbolt with Apple, contributed to the new standard. And those cables will need to be USB-C cables, so this will hasten the death of the old-style USB-A interface. The standard doesn't become official until the middle of 2019 and that means devices you want to buy won't have it included until early 2020. Improvements could enable a "doubling of performance", the group said in a statement, while maintaining backwards-compatibility with USB 3.2, USB 2.0, and Thunderbolt 3.