Published: Thu, July 27, 2017
Sci-tech | By Jackie Newman

USB 3.2 Doubles the Speed of Cables You Already Have

USB 3.2 Doubles the Speed of Cables You Already Have

One of the most compelling features of USB Type-C is that it can be used for more than just USB signalling; other protocols such as Thunderbolt 3 and DisplayPort can use the same ports and the same cabling.

On the plus side, you won't need new cables, as the original USB-C cables were created to eventually be used with the higher speeds - that is, as long as they've been certified for SuperSpeed USB 10GBps. Some USB-connected SSD drives can saturate a USB 3.1 cable, so there may be some benefit for USB 3.2 there.

This update will, however, require new hardware on either end of that cable. With SuperSpeed-certified cables and a USB 3.2 host (meaning the thing you're plugging into), you can push 2GB across the connection each second. As Brad Saunders, USB 3.0 Promoter Group Chairman, explains "When we introduced USB Type-C to the market, we meant to assure that USB Type-C cables and connectors certified for SuperSpeed USB or SuperSpeed USB 10Gbps would, as produced, support higher performance USB as newer generations of USB 3.0 were developed".

Note, too, that this update applies only to USB-C, which is essentially a connector type. The performance boost will be available in USB Type-C cables immediately, as they are built for multi-lane operations, although they only use single-lane operations for the time being.

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The update will provide nearly double bandwidth, in comparison to USB 3.1, via two-lane operation over the existing Type-C cables. What you may not have realized is, that data rate is set to double using the same cable! USB 3.2 enables the design of hosts and devices with multi-lane solutions, with up to two lanes of 5Gbps or 10Gbps operation, "effectively doubling the performance across existing cables", the group said. However, in the case of USB 3.2, the theoretical bandwidth cap would max out at 20Gbps. The Group will release the final USB 3.2 specification at the USB Developer Days 2017 event in September this year.

Now, we've had the launch of USB 3.2, which again ups the data transfer speeds.

Minor update to hub specification to address increased performance and assure seamless transitions between single and two-lane operation.

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