USB Promoter Group, an entity that represents many technology companies that are working on creating new USB standards announced the first details about the USB 4.
This news comes shortly after the USB 3.2 standard has been finished, which comes with name updates for older USB 3 generations.
The new USB 4 will be a standard that will use the Thunderbolt protocols from Intel to ensure high transfer speeds as well as the possibility of expanding the functionality of standard USB ports on different devices.
The USB 4 standard will use the USB Type-C slot but it can be used for connect far more advanced devices such as external video cards, high resolution monitors and will be able to provide better power to devices than previous standards.
According to the USB Promoter Group, the USB 4 standard will be finished in 2019 and even if it uses Thunderbolt protocols it will not replace Thunderbolt 3, for example, as the two standards are different. Performance wise, USB 4 will ensure transfer speeds of up to 40 Gbps, which is double than the speeds provided by the new USB 3.2 standard.
USB 3.2 has been recently presented and – at first glance – it appears to be a bit confusing. Basically, all USB 3 generations are now included under the name USB 3.2, with the mention that they can be easily differentiated if you know what to look for.
At some point USB 3.0 became USB 3.1 Gen 1, and now it will be exclusively named USB 3.2 Gen 1 or “Super Speed”. It comes with transfer speeds of 5 Gbps, the standard being finished in 2009. USB 3.1 becomes USB 3.2 Gen 2 or Super Speed+, which transfer speeds of 10 Gbps. Then we have the new USB 3.2 Gen2x2 standard, which also doubles the transfer speed to 20 Gbps. So, USB 4 is the natural evolution, with a transfer speed double than that of the USB 3.2 Gen2x2.
USB 4 will be compatible with USB 4 devices at maximum speeds but only with cables certified for 40 Gbps transfer speeds. Alternatively, it can work in normal parameters with Thunderbolt devices or cables, USB 3.2 Gen2x2, USB 3.2 Gen 2, USB 3.2 Gen 1 or USB 2.0.
From now on we should be very careful when buying a new laptop or a new motherboard because the name of the USB ports might create some confusion. If transfer speeds are important you should probably look for computers many USB 3.2 Gen2x2 and Gen 2 ports.
Most likely the first computers with USB 4 will only arrive on the market in 2020.