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The USB 3.2 standard will be twice as fast, but even more confusing

USB 3.2, the next generation USB standard expected to start appearing in devices later this year, will double the maximum speed supported at 20Gbps. This is achieved by allowing two 10 Gbps paths each, which can be achieved without reducing the cable length.

The bad news is that the naming confusion around the USB speed will be even worse …


Life was simple enough through USB 3.0:

  • USB 1.1 (12Mbps)
  • USB 2.0 (480Mbps)
  • USB 3.0 (5Gbps)

Then came USB 3.1, and the USB Implementers Forum decided to confuse everyone who Arstechnica remembers.

The big new feature doubled the data rate to 10Gb / s. The logical thing would have been to identify existing 5Gb / s devices like "USB 3.0" and new 10Gb / s devices like "USB 3.1." But that was not what the USB-IF did. For reasons that are still difficult to understand, it was decided to repeat USB 3.0 again: 5Gb / s 3.0 connections were "USB 3.1 Gen 1", with the 10Gb / s connections "USB 3.1 Gen 2". The consumer's brand is "SuperSpeed ​​USB 10Gbps."

And now the USB-IF makes things even worse. Firstly, the old USB 3.1 devices are now magically the USB 3.2 – for exactly the same speeds. And the new 20Gbps gets a stupid new name:

  • USB 3.1 Gen 1 gets USB 3.2 Gen 1
  • USB 3.1 Gen 2 gets USB 3.2 Gen 2
  • The new 20Gbps standard becomes … USB 3.2 Gen 2 × 2 [19659008] So, as Arstechnica points out, manufacturers can proudly say that their device supports USB 3.2 – and without further information, consumers will have no way of knowing whether they get 5, 10 or 20Gbps.

    So buying a USB-C cable will be even more confusing than it is today. The only thing you want to know is that 20Gbps is only possible on (compatible) USB-C cables, as only these have the two paths needed to double the effective speed.

    Thunderbolt is the fastest standard, offering a maximum speed of 40Gbps

    Photo: Shutterstock

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