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Since 1996, USB signal standards have progressed as technology demands increase. Each release is an improvement of its predecessor — an attempt to enhance some previous features. The most recent release from the USB Implementers Forum (USB-IF) is the USB 4 signal standard. We'll take you through the features of USB and what they mean to you.
3.0 3.1 USB 3.2
|New Name||Previous Name||USB Performance Specification||Data Transfer Speed||Year Introduced|
|USB 3.2 Gen 1|| USB 3.0 |
USB 3.1 Gen 1
| USB 3.2 Gen 2 |
USB 3.2 Gen 2x2
| USB 3.1 |
USB 3.1 Gen 2
| SuperSpeed+ |
SuperSpeed 10 Gbps
SuperSpeed 20 Gbps
| 10 Gbps |
| 2013 |
|USB4|| USB 4 Gen 2x2 |
USB 4 20 Gbps
USB 4 Gen 3x2
USB 4 40 Gbps
| 20 Gbps |
| 2019 |
USB is a standard that was developed in the mid-1990s that defines cables, connectors, and communication protocols. This technology is designed to allow a connection, communication and power supply for peripheral devices and computers. USB ports are dynamic in the number of devices that are supported. In theory, a single USB port can support up to 127 devices using USB hubs. USB devices can range from human interface (keyboard, mouse, etc.) to storage (thumb drives, external hard drives, etc.)
The USB C connector is a reversible/symmetrical connector, so no more guessing on how to plug it in. With increased durability of up to 10,000 cycles it delivers a longer life for the number of times it has the capability to be plugged in.
The USB 3.2 Gen 1 and Gen 2 standards apply to the USB specification, while the USB C standard defines only the physical connector.
The USB 3.2 Gen 1 specification made further improvements to USB technology. Improvements consisted of an increase of bandwidth to a maximum of 5Gbps, support for full duplex communication and an increase of the amount of power available to connected devices. This specification retained a backwards compatibility that allows USB 3.0 to support USB 2.0 and USB 1.1 devices.
The USB 3.2 Gen 2 specification is similar to the USB 3.2 Gen 1, only that it doubles the speed of USB 3.2 Gen 1.
The USB 3.2 Gen 2x2 specification allows for up to two lanes of 10Gbps, achieving the maximum throughput of 20 Gbps. A 3.2 Gen 2x2 device needs to be connected in order to achieve the maximum 20 Gbps speed. So, connecting to USB 3.2 Gen 1 or Gen 2 will not reach the 20 Gbps but only the maximum speed of that previous USB generation.
The USB 4 specification allows for faster transfer speeds, improved management of video bandwidth, and compatibility with Thunderbolt 3 being possible. This specification uses two-lane cables to operate at up to 40 Gbps, the same speed as Thunderbolt 3. USB 4 also supports DisplayPort Alt mode 2.0, which can support up to 8K resolution at 60 Hz with HDR10 color. Some USB 4 connectivity will also work with Thunderbolt 3 devices.
The Type C connector has been enhanced to provide a lot more improvements from its previous generations. These include more conductors, higher voltage ratings, higher current ratings and greater signal bandwidths, all with a reduced size of the USB receptacles. USB Type C is 60% smaller than a USB A connector.
The symmetrical design upgrade allows for easier and faster insertion on the first try, whether right-side up or up-side down, compared to its previous generations.
Because of its symmetrical design, it reduces significantly the amount of damages caused to the connectors by one-way insertions, as seen in a lot of cases for USB A. USB Type C connectors have been tested up to 10,000 insertions, which is 6 times more durable than any USB A connector.
USB 3.2 Type C Gen 1 is what the first generation of devices being released will have. It's similar to 3.0 SuperSpeed with the added bonuses of enhanced power delivery up to 100W, native AV support, supports video displays up to 4K, backwards compatible and has a data transfer rate of 5Gbps. SuperSpeed & Enhanced SuperSpeed supports Gen 1 Speed.
USB 3.2 Type C Gen 2 has enhanced power delivery with 100W, native AV support, supports video displays up to 4K, backwards compatible, and has a data transfer rate of 10Gbps. SuperSpeed Plus & Enhanced SuperSpeed supports Gen 2 Speed.
USB 3.2 Gen 1 (USB 3.0)
Originally known as USB 3.0, and previously renamed to USB 3.1 Gen 1. It's the original USB 3.0 specification, and it can transfer data at up to 5Gbps.
USB 3.2 Gen 2 (USB 3.1)
Previously known as USB 3.1, and then later as USB 3.1 Gen 2. It offers speeds at up to 10Gbps.
USB 3.2 Gen 2x2
Formally known as USB 3.2. It offers speeds at up to 20Gbps (by using two lanes of 10Gbps at once).
Data transfer rates up to 10GBIT/S
2X the data rate of USB 3.0
20X the data rate of USB 2.0
20 VOLTS, 5 AMPS, AND 100 WATTS
for device power & charging
Delivers power increase of
20X USB 3.0 &
40X USB 2.0
Audio/Video is a brand NEW FEATURE for USB 3.1
Provides DISPLAYPORT VIDEO
to a connected monitor
including microphone support
Easily aAdapts to…
For more advanced info on USB C, download this in-depth whitepaper The Ultimate Guide to the Next Generation of AV Device Connectivity: USB Type-C for the AV Professional.
What you will learn from this whitepaper: